The Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (SLCU) is a new research institute funded by the Gatsby Foundation. The aim of the Laboratory is to elucidate the regulatory systems underlying plant growth and development.
Plants are the foundation for virtually every ecosystem and agricultural system on Earth. A fundamental understanding of how plants grow and develop is therefore paramount for the long term security of a sustainable supply of food and other plant products, such as fuel, fibres and building materials.
The study of plant development is being transformed by the new scientific and technical resources becoming available to biologists, including high-throughput DNA sequencing, new imaging methods, increasingly sophisticated genetic tools, and refined chemical interventions. The data derived from these approaches have opened the way for predictive computational models, which are essential for understanding the dynamic, self-organising properties of plants.
We now have an unprecedented opportunity to obtain an integrated understanding of plant development, setting the stage for a new synthesis that will draw on molecular, cellular, whole plant, and population biology to elucidate how plants are constructed. SLCU is establishing a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary research environment that will capitalise on these exciting opportunities.