Skip to main content

Craig Pikaard wants to understand the mechanisms underlying how and why specific genes are switched on and off. Using the plant Arabidopsis as a model system, Pikaard’s team employs a variety of techniques – from genetics, genomics, cell and molecular biology, to biochemistry – to research two processes: selective silencing of specific ribosomal RNA gene subtypes and RNA-directed DNA methylation. Understanding how specific genes are silenced in plants could help elucidate how these processes go awry in human development-associated diseases, including cancer.