Sunday, January 1, 2017

Mendel Perkins

I am originally from Wainwright Alberta where I grew up on a grain farm. My interest in plants started early with my Dad around the farm and Mom around the garden. I built a greenhouse out of windows salvaged from an old house and worked at a commercial greenhouse through high school. I did my BSc in Botany at U of C in Calgary. Early in my undergrad I worked in northern Alberta peatlands studying the vegetation community, carbon cycling and simulated climate change scenarios with Dr. Maria Strack. I used dendrochronology, forest mensuration and biomass samples to quantify the change in biomass and vegetation community following artificial drying of rain fed bogs.
For my undergraduate Honors thesis, I moved to Dr. Marcus Samuel’s lab where I worked to demonstrate conserved functionality of Abscisic Acid Insensitive 3 (ABI3) between Arabidopsis and Canola.

In my MSc at the Samuel lab I continued work with ABI3 in particular its ability to modulate the seed degreening pathway in Canola. I generated and characterized ABI3 overexpressing Canola lines for their frost tolerance as this would be a valuable agronomic trait. Significant losses are incurred when Canola crops are damaged by frost resulting in seeds that remain green at maturity resulting in low quality oil.


I joined the Samuels lab here at UBC in January of 2017. I had found myself asking more and more questions about the basic biochemistry and cell biology of my previous project which is part of what led me to this lab. My research here is focused on lignin, more specifically how monolignols are transported from within the cell where they are manufactured to the cell wall domains where they are eventually polymerized into the lignin polymer and permanently reside. It is likely that the transport and management of monolignols also involves the transport and management of the glucosylated form and lower order oligomers of monolignols. 

Publications

Perkins, M., Smith, R.A., Samuels, A.L. (2019). The transport of monomers during lignification in plants: anything goes but how? Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 56:69-74. [view abstract]

Perkins, M. (2018) Macro Flower Photography: An Introduction to Photographic Principles and Techniques. In Y.-I. Lee and E. C.-T. Yeung, eds. Orchid Propagation: From Laboratories to Greenhouses---Methods and Protocols. New York, NY: Springer New York, pp. 463–476. [view abstract]

Munir T, Perkins M, Kaing M, Strack M. (2015). Carbon dioxide flux and net primary production of a boreal treed bog: responses to warming and water table manipulations. Biogeosciences. 12:1091-1111. [view abstract]

Munir T, Xu B, Perkins M, Strack M. (2014). Responses of carbon dioxide flux and plant biomass to
drought in a treed peatland in northern Alberta: a climate change perspective. Biogeosciences.
11:807-820. [view abstract]