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

Dr. 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 as a teaching assistant and pollination biologist at UBA, she emigrated to the US, where she got her Ph.D. in Plant Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1998 under the advice of Dr. David Mulcahy, working on sex chromosome evolution in Silene sp. She then worked as a post-doc with Dr. Alice Cheung in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, on pollen gene expression and the role of the floral transcription factor SUPERMAN on cell division in tobacco. Her second post doc was with Drs. 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 (evo-devo). She joined the faculty of the University of Washington, Department of Biology in 2003, became an Assistant Professor in 2006 and Asscoiate Professor in 2012 . She continues to pursue her interests in the evolution of flower development and the genetic basis of angiosperm diversification.