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Space Plants Lab

Space Plants Lab

About Us

The UF Space Plants lab is headed by Principal Investigators, Dr. Robert Ferl and Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul. They are assisted by a team of scientists at various stages of their career from the Horticultural Sciences Department in the University of Florida’s Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Dr. Robert Ferl

My research program is centered on the environmental regulation of gene activity in plants. This central theme has guided activities that have reached out in the directions of fundamental mechanisms of gene expression in plants, plant chromatin, signal transduction and most recently the impacts of the novel environment of spaceflight on how these mechanisms provide adaptive strategies. Spaceflight is an environment completely outside of the evolutionary history of life on earth. Growing plants in space or on another planet to support human colonies requires an understanding of this novel physiological adaptation. Studying the effects of spaceflight allows us to explore limits to the adaptive process and to probe the potential mechanism that can allow life to expand adaptation to novel environmental challenges that will arise here on earth or when we move to other planets. Full Curriculum Vitae For Dr. Robert Ferl

Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul

Anna-Lisa Paul

My research interests focus on the regulation of plant gene expression in response to abiotic stress and extreme environments, with a particular interest in chromatin structure, genome organization, and epigenetic change. Venues associated with spaceflight provide an opportunity to explore plant genomic responses to an environment that is outside the evolutionary experience of terrestrial organisms. This unique platform presents a background by which adaptive metabolisms can be observed as they are crafted to cope with a stress de novo; providing a window into the origins of adaptive processes. Full Curriculum Vitae For Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul