(see www.computational-plant-science.org for the most up to date information) I am Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia at Athens, joint between the Department of Plant Biology, the Institute of Bioinformatics and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. My expertise falls within computational plant sciences. I address questions in the area of plant growth and shape formation in formal and applied settings. In so doing, I have developed novel methods such as a robust skeletonization for laser scanner obtained point clouds to describe and compute the shapes of trees on various spatial scales. I apply these methods to link geometric measures in tree crowns to physiological models or analyze the phenotypic variation of root architecture under field conditions. In particular my work on describing root architecture was highlighted on the cover page of Plant Physiology and in national press articles. In addition, I work on growth simulations of organic branching structures to yield insight into the formation of branches. For example I formalized the characteristics resulting from the lateral expansion of a growing random walk to show that expansion during elongating growth processes lead to a straighter shape. Thus, geometric relations play an as vital role in the formation of organic shapes in concert with the environment and endogenous processes. My methods have been developed and validated in close collaboration with experimentalists to resolve challenges in plant biotechnology and food security, e.g., by investigating the relationship between crop plant genotype and phenotype. My projects are united by my interest in developing novel methods towards a measurable understanding of plant formation and structure, below- and above-ground.
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