Today concludes the UBC research series. We still have a few outstanding entries, but we’ll add them to the general mix. Ruth continues with the series:
Dr. Lacey Samuels is an Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Botany. Her research initiatives mainly focus on plant cell biology and the secretion of the cell wall.
Heather McFarlane is a PhD candidate from Dr. Samuels’ lab and she writes:
“The picture above is a cryo-scanning electron micrograph of mint (Mentha ×piperita) leaf surface (scale bar = 100 micrometers). Mint secretes essential oils into glands (G) on the surface of its leaves. These glandular trichomes are distinct from other types of trichomes, such as hairs (H). In nature, mint essential oils may serve to protect the plant against insect and other herbivores. Commercially, these oils are employed in a variety of products. In the Samuels lab, we study lipid export, using mint essential oil export to glandular trichomes as one model system.”
“We also study lipid export using Arabidopsis thaliana and Sorghum bicolor as model systems. Cryo-SEM allows us to freeze cells that are actively exporting essential oils, and to examine these cells at high magnification. This helps us gain insight into the possible mechanisms of lipid export to and from plant cells.”