Plants3D NRT Program

Funded by NSF National Research Traineeship Program Grant DBI-1922642

A graduate training program for biologists, engineers, and computational scientists.

We meld plant and microbial biology with engineering technologies to discover, design, and deploy plant-inspired solutions for agriculture and biotechnology.

Design and Entrepreneurship Course 2023

BPSC/CEE 208 – T/TH 12-1:20 Spring Quarter
Plants3D Trainee Nick Robertson’s Youtube Channel and Explanation of his Plants3D Start-Up Project.

About the Plants3D National Science Foundation Research Traineeship Program

Plants provide food, fiber, and biomolecules (phytochemicals) used in medicine and a myriad of industries. Meeting the food and health needs for the projected growth in world population will require a significant increase in crop productivity. This can optimally be accomplished in crops by reducing pest and microbial pathogen susceptibility and enhancing endurance to stressors such as drought, salinity, flooding, temperature extremes and nutrient deficiency.

Plants3D trains biologists and engineers in discovery and entrepreneurial skills to address the challenges related to food security and human health. We hope to leverage genomic resources as well as the biological and engineering tools of synthetic biology to understand stress sensing and protective responses, plant-microbe interactions, and to increase production of high-value phytochemicals.

The Plants3D research-training program trains graduate students in plant sciences and engineering to:

  • Discover: pathways that plants use to sense and respond to abiotic and biotic signals; metabolic pathways that produce valuable natural products.
  • Design: novel signaling components that regulate stress tolerance; synthetic biology tools to efficiently transform and express optimized plant metabolic pathways.
  • Deploy: engineered stress tolerance pathways in crops; biosynthetic pathways that produce valuable metabolites in microbial hosts.
Programmable drought tolerance. As an example of a programmable phenotype, Plants3D faculty have repurposed the ABA signaling pathway to respond to the approved agrochemical mandipropamide. Shown here is the workflow to modify the drought tolerance signaling pathway (the ABA pathway) to respond to a new chemical and the effect on growth on Arabidopsis thaliana under low water conditions. The wild type (WT) shows very little growth, while the modified plant (PYR1) grows well.

NEWS: Program Press Release

Discover and Deploy: Hailing Jin’s work in the news

Highlights from current Plants3D Trainees.