Di Stilio,Verónica

Associate Professor
distilio@u.washington.edu
(206) 616-5567 (office)
(206) 685-4755 (lab)
Web site
HCK 506A

Research Overview

The flower, and the interactions with pollinators that it enhances, are amongst the key innovations that have allowed angiosperms to be so successful. Current research in my laboratory takes an evolution-of-development approach to investigate the genetic basis of two adaptive features of the flower: breeding system and petaloidy. Our focus is on modulators of floral development (MADS-box and MYB transcription factors) as candidate genes for angiosperm diversification. We capitalize on the diversity of breeding and pollination systems in the genus Thalictrum, a basal Eudicot with a strategic phylogenetic position between model systems. Through comparative expression and functional analyses of reproductive organ identity genes and downstream genes responsible for features of the perianth involved in pollinator attraction, we hope to contribute to a deeper understanding of the genetic basis of flower diversification.


Biography

Verónica Di Stilio completed her undergraduate studies in Biology at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) in her native Argentina in 1990, where she specialized in Plant Ecology. After working for two years as a teaching assistant and pollination biologist at UBA, she emigrated to the US, obtaining a Ph.D. in Plant Biology at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in 1998 working on plant sex chromosome evolution under the advice of David Mulcahy. Her postdoctoral training started in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (UMass) on pollen gene expression and the role of the floral transcription factor SUPERMAN on cell division with Alice Cheung. She continued her postdoctoral training with David Baum and Elena Kramer at the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, where she was introduced to the field of Evolution of Development with an emphasis on flowers. She joined the faculty of the University of Washington, Department of Biology in 2003, becoming an Assistant Professor in 2006 and an Associate Professor in 2012. She continues to pursue her interests in the evolution of plant development and the genetic basis of angiosperm diversification.


Selected Publications