- School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Dr. Beers is engaged in the discovery and characterization of genes that control wood formation.
Wood serves as the raw material for a wide variety of essential and non-essential products. Advancing the understanding of the genomics of wood formation has been the main focus Dr. Beers’ work at Virginia Tech. He and members of his laboratory group pioneered the use of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) as a model for wood formation and published the first genome-wide transcript profile for wood-forming tissue. Taking advantage of the recent development of poplar (Populus trichocarpa) as a genomic model tree, the Beers lab is currently studying how targeted changes in the levels of trehalose-6-phosphate, an important regulatory sugar in plants, can be used to increase the quality and quantity of wood produced by economically important tree species.