News & Events

Dean Kiss kicks off the Spring Semester seminars

The Biology Seminars are held Wednesdays from 4-5 PM in Room 201, Sullivan Science Building. Dean Kiss presented his research on Novel light sensory mechanisms in plants on January 18th. Find his abstract below!


Novel light sensory mechanisms in plants: what we have learned from spaceflight experiments

John Z. Kiss

Due to their sessile nature, plants utilize environmental cues to grow and respond to their surroundings. These external cues, taken in concert, direct the growth and development of plants.  Two of these cues, light and gravity, play a substantial role in plant orientation and directed growth movements (tropisms). Utilizing the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) on board the International Space Station (ISS), we investigated the interaction between phototropic and gravitropic responses in Arabidopsis thaliana. Onboard centrifuges were used to create a fractional gravity gradient ranging from reduced gravity up to 1 g. Several novel tropistic responses were discovered in microgravity and reduced gravity. In conclusion, we will discuss the current ISS laboratory facilities and how they can be used explore the effects of reduced gravity on plant biology, including those factors that are directly related to developing life-support systems necessary for Moon and Mars exploration.