(206) 221-5701 (office)
(206) 221-5756 (lab)
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Research Overview

Torii is an Howard Hughes Medical Investigator.

She is also the founding member of the Institute of Transformative BioMolecules at Nagoya University, one of the World Premier Research Institute in Japan.

The goal of research in the Torii lab is to elucidate the molecular and cellular bases of the functional tissue patterning, stem cell maintenance and differentitation, and cell-fate specification in plants.

We discovered that three receptor kinases that regulate cell proliferation and organ growth together control stomatal patterning. Stomata are turgor-driven valves on the surface of land plants. Stomata play critical roles for gas exchange between plants and atmosphere for carbon fixation, respiration, and transpiration (i.e. water movement). Our latest breakthrough includes the identification of master regulatory genes and ligand-receptor pairs that direct asymmetric cell division and stomatal differentiation. Our research opens a door to understand the fundamental genetic and cellular signaling mechanisms that govern two critical aspects of plant functions, organ growth and stomatal development.


Professional Preparation

B.S. (1987), M.S. (1989), Ph.D. (1993): Biology (major in Biochemistry and Biophysics). Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan


Oversea Principal Investigator and Visiting Professor, Institute of Transformative Biomolecules, Nagoya University, Japan 2013-

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute  2011-

Endowed Distinguised Professor of Biology 2011-

Investigator, PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency 2008-2012

Professor, Department of Biology, University of Washington 2009

Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Washington 2005

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Washington 2002

Assistant Professor, Department of Botany, University of Washington 1999

Affiliate Faculty, University of Washington Institute of Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine 2006-

Selected Publications

Pillitteri LJ, Torii KU. Mechanisms of stomatal development. Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2012;63:591-614. Abstract