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Sainsbury Laboratory

Dr Siobhan Braybrook was a Career Development Fellow at SLCU between 2013-2017. This page summarises the research areas that her former group focused on.

Dr Siobhan Braybrook

Former Career Development Fellow at SLCU


Research Interests

Dr Braybrook established The Plant Mechanics Group at SLCU in 2013. The aim of Dr Braybrook's Research Group was to understand how shapes and patterns are physically manifested in plants. In order to do this, her group looked at how to quantify shapes and patterns, understand cell wall mechanics, elucidate the molecular mechanisms that control wall mechanics, and explore the evolutionary space linking growth and cell wall mechanics. 

In all organisms, the growing of a shape is a complex process requiring specific gene products, signalling, mechanical alterations, and coordination of cell growth. Her group addressed this fundamental process in biology using a multidisciplinary approach including plant physiology, biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, materials science, and physics.

An integral part of understanding shape generation is being able to quantify shapes. They tested two methods of quantitative shape analysis for epidermal cell shape: Fourier analysis and geometric metrics. These methods were explored and applied to leaf epidermal cell shape in over 250 species sampled from the Cambridge University Botanic Garden and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Key Publications

G Arsuffi, SA Braybrook, "Acid growth: an ongoing trip", Journal of Experimental Botany 69 (2): 137-146 (2018).

Bou Daher, F., Chen, Y., Bozorg, B., Clough, J.H., Jonsson, H., Braybrook, S.A., "Anisotropic growth is achieved through the additive mechanical effect of material anisotropy and elastic asymmetry", eLIFE 7 (e38161): (2018).

Torode, T.A., Linardic, M., Kaplan, J.L., Braybrook, S.A., "Atomic force microscopy based analysis of cell-wall elasticity in macroalgae", In: Protocols for Macroalgae Research 335-347 (2018).

TA Torode, RE O'Neill, SE Marcus, V Cornuault, S Pose-Albacete, RP Lauder, SK Kracun, MG Rydahl, MCF Andersen, WGT Willats, SA Braybrook, BJ Townsend, MH Clausen, JP Knox, "Branched pectic galactan in phloem-sieve-element cell walls: implications for cell mechanics", Plant Physiology (2017).

M Linardic SA Braybrook, "Towards an understanding of spiral patterning in the Sargassum muticum shoot apex", Scientific Reports 7: (2017).

R Carter, H Woolfenden, A Baillie, S Amsbury, S Carroll, E Healicon, S Sovatzoglou, SA Braybrook, JE Gray, J Hobbs, RJ Morris, AJ Fleming, "Stomatal Opening Involves Polar, Not Radial, Stiffening Of Guard Cells", Current Biology 27 (19): 2974-2983.e2 (2017).

A Weber, S Braybrook, M Huflejt, G Mosca, A L Routier-Kierzkowska, R S Smith. (2015). Measuring the mechanical properties of plant cells by combining micro-indentation with osmotic treatments. Journal of Experimental Botany. first published online April 7, 2015Z Kong,

M Ioki, SA Braybrook, S Li, Z-H Ye, Y-RJ Lee, T Hotta, A Chang, J Tian, G Wang, B Liu (2015). Kinesin-4 functions in vesicular transport on cortical microtubules and regulates cell wall mechanics during cell elongation in plants. Molecular Plant Online Advance

SA Braybrook, A Peaucelle (2013) Mechano-Chemical Aspects of Organ Formation in Arabidopsis thaliana: The Relationship between Auxin and Pectin. PLoS ONE 8(3): e57813. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057813

DH Chitwood, LR Headlan1, ARanjan, SA Braybrook, DP Koenig, C Martinez, C Kuhlemeier, RS Smith, and NR Sinha. 2012. Leaf asymmetry as a developmental constraint imposed by auxin-dependent phyllotactic patterning. The Plant Cell. 24:1-10.

A Peaucelle*, SA Braybrook*, L Le Guillou, E Bron, C Kuhlemeier, H Hofte. 2011. Pectin-Induced Changes in Cell Wall Mechanics Underlie Organ Initiation in Arabidopsis. Current Biology. Online Oct. 6th. *Co-first authors

SL Stone, SA Braybrook, SL Paula, LW Kwong, J Meuser, J Pelletier, T-F Hsieh, RL Fischer, RB Goldberg, JJ Harada. 2008. Arabidopsis LEAFY COTYLEDON2 Induces Maturation Traits and Auxin Activity: Implications for Somatic Embryogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 105:3151-3156.

SA Braybrook, SL Stone, S Park, AQ Bui, BH Le, RL Fischer, RB Goldberg, JJ Harada. 2006. Genes directly regulated by LEAFY COTYLEDON2 provide insight into the control of embryo maturation and somatic embryogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA . Feb 28;103(9):3468-73.


Recent Review Publications

SA Braybrook. 2014. Signalling in plant cell patterning- mechano-molecular theory and phyllotaxis. In: The Biochemist. Special Issue: Signalling in Plants and Microbes

P Milani, SA Braybrook, A Boudaoud. 2013. Shrinking the hammer: micromechanical approaches to morphogenesis. Journal of Experimental Botany. (first published online July 19, 2013) 

SA Braybrook, H Hofte, A Peaucelle. 2012. Probing the mechanical contributions of the pectin matrix: insights for cell growth. Plant, Signaling, and Behavior. 7(8):45-46.

A Peaucelle, SA Braybrook, H Hofte. 2012. Cell wall mechanics and growth control in plants: the role of pectins revisited. In: Frontiers in Plant Physiology, Research Topic: Current challenges in plant cell walls. Volume 3, article No. 121.

SA Braybrook and C Kuhlemeier. How a plant builds leaves. 2010. The Plant Cell. 22: 1006-1018.


A confocal images of cell walls (left) used to make a cell volume map of an etiolating Arabidopsis hypocotyl (center). An elastic modulus map of a similar hypocotyl base (right). Volume map made using MorphoGraphX (Richard Smith,


An elastic modulus map of an Arabidopsis inflorescence meristem, as determined with AFM. Red regions are more rigid than blue regions. As in Peaucelle and Braybrook et al. (2011), Current Biology.

A 12 hour growth map of an Arabidopsis inflorescence meristem. Cell area increase are colored from blue to red. Analysis based on confocal imaging and processing using MorphoGraphX (Richard Smith,