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Yuval Eshed

Weizmann Institute

Yuval Eshed earned a PhD in quantitative genetics from the Hebrew University. From 1996 to 2001, he was trained as a postdoctoral fellow in developmental genetics. In 2001, he joined the Weizmann Institute. His research group address variations in architecture of plant organs and the whole plant. As plant architecture is critical for optimal productivity, understanding its guiding principles may offer agriculture new means by which to optimize plant growth and crop yield.

To understand shoot form processes, the Eshed group focuses on plant meristems, a group of cells that maintain the potential to form new organs when external cues or internal conditions change. They characterized the importance of asymmetry (top versus bottom side of the leaf), as well as the role of growth suppressors, in determining leaf growth and size. Nowadays, the research team studies the impact of systemic growth hormones on the meristem, and in particular, the roles of the long sought for flowering hormone florigen. They showed that in addition to its role in flowering, florigen acts as a general growth regulator whereby the balance between florigen and its antagonists governs the organization of the plant shoot.