Dominique Bergmann is a developmental biologist recognized for her work using the stomatal lineage as an elegant system for the exploration of cell fate, cell signaling and cell polarity in plants. Bergmann was born, raised and educated in the public schools of Bethlehem, PA. She earned a B.A in molecular and cellular biology from the University of California. Berkeley and a Ph.D. in animal development from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and added plants to her repertoire during a postdoc at the Carnegie Institution, Department of Plant Biology, before joining the faculty in the Department of Biology at Stanford University in 2005. Bergmann received an NIH Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering and the Charles Albert Shull award from the American Society of Plant Biologists. She is currently also an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and an Adjunct staff member at the Carnegie Institution, Department of Plant Biology.

Research Interests

During development, all multicellular organisms face a similar set of challenges: they must create a diverse set of specialized cell types, organize these cells into functional tissues, and maintain pools of stem cells to replenish the tissues throughout their lifetimes. My group uses the development of plant stomata (the epidermal structures that regulate CO2 and water vapor exchange between the plant and atmosphere) as a model to understand how tissues integrate signals from a variety of sources into decisions about cell fate, cell signaling and cell polarity. By incorporating a variety of plants in our studies we found that a core set of conserved regulators underlie stomatal development, and that much of diversity in stomatal forms and patterns we see in nature stems from rewiring of interactions among these core regulators. Stomata also provide a framework to study the fundamental processes of plants at different organizational levels, from molecules and cells to whole plants and ecosystems. Collectively, the activities of billions of stomata on thousands of plant species contribute to global biosphere/atmosphere exchange. In collaboration with ecophysiologists, we have used tools derived from our molecular-scale studies to improve organismal-scale models for photosynthetic activity and provide experimental evidence that evolutionarily conserved stomatal patterns are essential for efficient photosynthesis.

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Primary Section

Section 25: Plant Biology

Secondary Section

Section 22: Cellular and Developmental Biology