Robert Franks



Research Interests


The Franks’ Lab is interested in the molecular mechanisms of Development. We presently work in the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana, a type of mustard plant. Much of our work has focused on the development of the female reproductive structure the gynoecium. The gynoecium, or seed pod, gives rise to ovules that when fertilized will become the seeds. In fruiting species, the gynoecium develops into the fruit.

Courses Taught


GN-434: Genes and Development – Undergraduate Course
Course Website for Fall 2014:

PB-733: Mechanisms of Plant Development – Graduate Course


Selected Publications 


Villarino, G. H.; Flores-Vergara, M.; Hu, Q; Sehra, B.; Robles,L.; Brumos, J.; Stepanova, A.N.; Manrique, S.; Colombo, L.; Sundberg, E.; Heber, S.; Franks, R.G. “Temporal and Spatial domain-specific transcriptomic analysis of a vital reproductive meristem in Arabidopsis thaliana” (under review).

Villarino, et al. (2015) under review (BioRxiv preprint)

Oneal,E.; Willis, J.H.; Franks, R.G. “Disruption of endosperm development is a major cause of hybrid seed invibility between Mimulus guttatus and M. nudatus“.” (under review)

Oneal et al. (2015) under review (BioRxiv preprint)

Sehra, B and Franks, R.G. (2015) Auxin and cytokinin act during gynoecial patterning and the development of ovules from the meristematic medial domain. WIREs Dev Bio. (2015)Pre-review version available

Larsson, E., Roberts, C.J., Claes, A.R., Franks, R.G., Sundberg, E., (2014). Polar Auxin Transport is Essential for Medial versus Lateral Tissue Specification and Vascular-mediated Valve Outgrowth in Arabidopsis Gynoecia. Plant Physiol. Vol. 166, pp. 1998–2012;

Wynn A.N., Seaman A. A., Jones A.L., Franks R.G. (2014) Novel functional roles for PERIANTHIA and SEUSS during floral organ identity specification, floral meristem termination and gynoecial development. Frontiers in Plant Science. Vol 5, No. 00130. DOI=10.3389/fpls.2014.00130;

Franks RG. (2014). Scanning electron microscopy analysis of floral development. Methods Mol Biol. 1110:263-73. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-9408-9_13. PMID: 24395262


Bob Franks