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Richard Blanton

Professor & Director of Graduate Programs

Gardner Hall 3203


My general area of research interest is cellular and developmental biology, particularly the role of the extracellular matrix in development and the mechanism of cellulose biogenesis. My research organism is the cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum, a microorganism with a life cycle that alternates between unicellular and multicellular stages. The extracellular matrix formed during multicellular development in D. discoideumis composed principally of cellulose (a polysaccharide that is also the major constituent of plant cell walls) and proteins. By understanding the biochemistry and control of cellulose synthesis in D. discoideum and the relationship of cellulose to the extracellular proteins, I hope to develop an understanding of the cellular control of extracellular matrix formation in D. discoideum and its role in development. For a variety of reasons, D. discoideum is particularly amenable to this type of study, permitting me to ask questions that would be difficult to answer using a plant cell system. I expect that my results will be of interest not only to the large world-wide community of D. discoideum researchers, but also to plant biologists and evolutionary developmental biologists.


Ph.D. Botanty University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1981

B.S. Botany University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1977

Area(s) of Expertise

Cell and Developmental Biology with a focus on Cellulose Biosynthesis


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