Prof. Benzanilla’s research aims to understand how molecules within cells encode geometric information imparted to the extracellular matrix that ultimately leads to cell shape determination. Her lab is particularly interested in the role of regulators of the cytoskeleton and membrane trafficking. She uses high-resolution live-cell imaging coupled with precise CRISPR-mediated genome editing to query the molecular connections between the actin and microtubules cytoskeletons and vesicle trafficking. As a model system, he lab studies patterning of the extracellular matrix in plants, since plant cell shape, dictated by the wall, acts as a read out for normal function. Using the unusually rapid transgenic capabilities of moss, which Prof. Benzanilla’s lab has helped to pioneer as a model plant, she is uncovering the molecular mechanisms that pattern plant cells. Her talk will focus on the role of ER - golgi vesicle trafficking, G-proteins, cell cycle and cytoskeleton, and actin networks involved in tip growth.