John Wiley Jones Distinguished Speaker: Dr. Beronda Montgomery

Join us in welcoming this year's John Wiley Jones Distinguished Speaker, Dr. Beronda Montgomery!


Dr. Montgomery has been nominated and invited by the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (in the College of Science). She is a Foundation Professor at Michigan State University. She is a professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Microbiology, and Molecular Genetics in the Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory.


Her presentation is titled:

Seeing the Light: Plant Color Vision and Developmental Acclimation



Photosynthetic organisms depend upon light for carbon fixation and production of reductant. Thus, the ability of these organisms to adapt to changes in the photoenvironment is critical. Plants and other photosynthetic organisms have diverse mechanisms for light perception and exhibit a number of metabolic and developmental photoresponses. Photoperception and the developmental changes that occur in response to light are arguably among the most important adaptations of photosynthetic organisms. Notably, light exposure results in distinct responses in specific seedling tissues during photomorphogenesis. Light promotes growth of cotyledons and leaves, as well as development and elongation of roots, whereas light inhibits elongation of hypocotyls. Prior physiological studies resulted in the identification of spatially distinct photoreceptor pools that control such discrete aspects of light-dependent growth and development in plants. Phytochromes are one of the most well-known plant photoreceptors coordinating the aforementioned tissue- and organ-specific plant responses. Despite significant advances in our understanding of the mechanisms of phytochrome synthesis and signaling, molecular evidence about spatial-specific phytochrome signaling is limited. To gain molecular insight into organ- and tissue-specific photoresponses, we initiated transgenic plant studies in Arabidopsis thaliana to regulate the spatial accumulation of photoactive phytochromes. We are investigating the phenotypic consequences of cell- and tissue-specific phytochrome deficiencies and have identified novel aspects of phytochrome signaling. Through the identification of specific mechanisms and candidate genes involved in the regulation of discrete aspects of light-mediated growth and development, our findings are adding significantly to our knowledge of the complex signaling cascades and cellular biology controlled by phytochromes in vivo.


Speaker Bio:

Beronda L. Montgomery is MSU Foundation Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics in the Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory at Michigan State University. She also serves as Assistant Provost – Research at MSU. Montgomery conducts research on the means by which plants and cyanobacteria are able to monitor and adjust to changes in their external environments. The ability of these largely immobile organisms to adapt to dynamic environments increases their survival and maximizes productivity. Dr. Montgomery received an NSF CAREER Award, is an 2017-2019 American Society of Microbiology Distinguished Lecturer, and was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2018.

Melanie Green


Event Snapshot
When and Where
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
5:00 PM-5:50 PM
Thomas Gosnell Hall

Open to the Public

Interpreter Requested