Marta Laskowski

  • Robert S. Danforth Professor of Biology

Areas of Study


  • BS, Indiana University Bloomington, 1983
  • PhD, Stanford University, 1990


I am always eager to talk to students about research. For those who are interested in getting involved in the work that my lab is doing, BIOL 321 offers the opportunity to carry out real research in a supportive, collaborative setting. For those interested in a longer commitment, I am happy to discuss our year-long honors program.

Plant growth and development

Plants aren’t always slow! Bunchberry flowers propel their pollen into the air in less than half a millisecond.  Discover:

I study the process by which new lateral roots form. By growing plants in soil-filled rhizotrons that allow one to see the developing root system, we observed that plants that overexpress a juvenility factor developed much larger, denser root systems than did wildtype plants. It’s common knowledge that people change as they mature from babies to adults and then seniors, and we have long known that shoots, which first produce leaves and later may produce flowers, also change as they mature. However, the observation that roots can also differ as they mature is less widely known. We use the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, its mutants, and cutting-edge molecular tools to explore the changes that occur as plant roots mature, with an aim of better understanding how plants develop.

Laskowski, M, Tiley, HC, Fang, Y, Epstein, A, Fu, Y, Ramos, R, Drummond, TJ, Heidstra, R, Bhakhri, P, Baskin, TI, Leyser, O (2022) The miR156 juvenility factor and PLETHORA 2 form a regulatory network and influence timing of meristem growth and lateral root emergence Development (2022) 149 (21): dev199871.

David M. Hillis, Craig H. Heller, Sally D. Hacker, David W. Hall, Marta J. Laskowski, David E. Sadava (2020) Life : The Science of Biology. 12th Edition; Sinauer Associates; Macmillan Learning.

David M. Hillis, Mary V. Price, Richard W. Hill, David W. Hall, Marta J. Laskowski (2019) Principles Of Life Third Edition; Sinauer Associates; MacMillan.

Ten Tusscher, KH, Laskowski, M (2017) Periodic lateral root priming, what makes it tick. Plant Cell 29 (3): 432-444.

Hofhuis1 H, Laskowski1 M, Du1 Y, Prasad K, Grigg S, Pinon V, Scheres B. (2013) Phyllotaxis and Rhizotaxis in Arabidopsis Are Modified by Three PLETHORA Transcription Factors. Curr Biol. 23: 956-62.

1These authors contributed equally to this work.

Laskowski, M, Grieneisen, V., Hofhuis, H., Hove, C.ten., Hogeweg, P., Marée, A., Scheres, B. (2008) Root System Architecture from Coupling Cell Shape to Auxin Transport. PLoS Biology6(12)e307.

This article was highlighted in Cell.


Marta Laskowski Coauthors Paper with Students

November 9, 2022

Multiple students who worked in Professor Marta Laskowski's lab are coauthors on a paper that appeared in the journal Development. The paper uncovers a gene regulatory network that links the size and shape of the root system to expression of genes that are known to control the life cycle stage of the shoot system. The work was done in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana.


My Cousin the Comb Jelly

November 15, 2023

The research of Darrin Schultz ’13 deepens our insights into animal evolution.