Richard Barker

Richard Barker
University of Wisconsin–Madison | UW · Department of Botany

PhD Plant genetics and molecular biology

About

36
Publications
15,459
Reads
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285
Citations
Citations since 2017
26 Research Items
281 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
Introduction
I am currently investigating how plants respond to the stresses of spaceflight. I currently use Arabidopsis and the International Space Station as my models. My preferred method of investigation is RNAseq but often use a multi-omics approach.
Additional affiliations
March 2014 - present
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Astro-Botany researcher and founder of the UW Astro-Botany Engineering Society
Education
March 2004 - March 2010
University of Nottingham
Field of study
  • Plant Developmental Genetics and environmental science

Publications

Publications (36)
Article
Full-text available
In order for terrestrial life to expand beyond the confines of our earthbound existence to bodies such as the moon or Mars it will have to tackle a barrage of stresses, some that it has encountered and adapted to over millions of years of evolution, but some that it will meet for the very first time. Whether reliable, sustainable biology-based (bio...
Article
Full-text available
A plant’s oxygen supply can vary from normal (normoxia) to total depletion (anoxia). Tolerance to anoxia is relevant to wetland species, rice (Oryza sativa) cultivation and submergence tolerance of crops. Decoding and transmitting calcium (Ca) signals may be an important component to anoxia tolerance; however, the contribution of intracellular Ca t...
Chapter
Gravity is a powerful element in shaping plant development, with gravitropism, the oriented growth response of plant organs to the direction of gravity, leading to each plant’s characteristic form both above and below ground. Despite being conceptually simple to follow, monitoring a plant’s directional growth responses can become complex as variati...
Experiment Findings
Full-text available
Using TOAST the transcript abundance flight vs ground was pulled from the GeneLab API and projected onto the KEGG pathway.
Article
Full-text available
Sphingomonas is ubiquitous in nature, including the anthropogenically contaminated extreme environments. Members of the Sphingomonas genus have been identified as potential candidates for space biomining beyond earth.
Preprint
Full-text available
Human space exploration beyond low Earth orbit will involve missions of significant distance and duration. To effectively mitigate myriad space health hazards, paradigm shifts in data and space health systems are necessary to enable Earth-independence, rather than Earth-reliance. Promising developments in the fields of artificial intelligence and m...
Preprint
Full-text available
Space biology research aims to understand fundamental effects of spaceflight on organisms, develop foundational knowledge to support deep space exploration, and ultimately bioengineer spacecraft and habitats to stabilize the ecosystem of plants, crops, microbes, animals, and humans for sustained multi-planetary life. To advance these aims, the fiel...
Article
Full-text available
In addition to microgravity, spaceflight simultaneously exposes biology to a suite of other stimuli. For example, in space, organisms experience ionizing radiation environments that significantly differ in both quality and quantity from those normally experienced on Earth. However, data on radiation exposure during space missions is often complex t...
Chapter
Full-text available
Despite mechanical stimulation having profound effects on plant growth and development and modulating responses to many other stimuli, including to gravity, much of the molecular machinery triggering plant mechanical responses remains unknown. This gap in our knowledge arises in part from difficulties in applying reproducible, long-term touch stimu...
Article
Full-text available
With the development of transcriptomic technologies, we are able to quantify precise changes in gene expression profiles from astronauts and other organisms exposed to spaceflight. Members of NASA GeneLab and GeneLab-associated analysis working groups (AWGs) have developed a consensus pipeline for analyzing short-read RNA-sequencing data from space...
Article
Full-text available
Space agencies have announced plans for human missions to the Moon to prepare for Mars. However, the space environment presents stressors that include radiation, microgravity, and isolation. Understanding how these factors affect biology is crucial for safe and effective crewed space exploration. There is a need to develop countermeasures, to adapt...
Preprint
Full-text available
With the development of transcriptomic technologies, we are able to quantify precise changes in gene expression profiles from astronauts and other organisms exposed to spaceflight. Members of NASA GeneLab and GeneLab-associated analysis working groups (AWGs) have developed a consensus pipeline for analyzing short-read RNA-sequencing data from space...
Article
Research on astronaut health and model organisms have revealed six features of spaceflight biology that guide our current understanding of fundamental molecular changes that occur during space travel. The features include oxidative stress, DNA damage, mitochondrial dysregulation, epigenetic changes (including gene regulation), telomere length alter...
Article
Full-text available
Root elongation depends on the action of the gibberellin (GA) growth hormones, which promote cell production in the root meristem and cell expansion in the elongation zone. Sites of GA biosynthesis in the roots of 7 day‐old Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings were investigated using tissue‐specific GA inactivation in wild type (Col‐0) or rescue of GA‐de...
Article
Full-text available
Microgravity is known to affect the organization of the cytoskeleton, cell and nuclear morphology and to elicit differential expression of genes associated with the cytoskeleton, focal adhesions and the extracellular matrix. Although the nucleus is mechanically connected to the cytoskeleton through the Linker of Nucleoskeleton and Cytoskeleton (LIN...
Article
Full-text available
Recent advances in the routine access to space along with increasing opportunities to perform plant growth experiments on board the International Space Station have led to an ever-increasing body of transcriptomic, proteomic, and epigenomic data from plants experiencing spaceflight. These datasets hold great promise to help understand how plant bio...
Article
Full-text available
Background Remote monitoring of plants using hyperspectral imaging has become an important tool for the study of plant growth, development, and physiology. Many applications are oriented towards use in field environments to enable non-destructive analysis of crop responses due to factors such as drought, nutrient deficiency, and disease, e.g., usin...
Article
Full-text available
Premise of the study: Spaceflight provides a unique environment in which to dissect plant stress response behaviors and to reveal potentially novel pathways triggered in space. We therefore analyzed the transcriptomes of Arabidopsis thaliana plants grown on board the International Space Station to find the molecular fingerprints of these space-rel...
Article
Full-text available
In order to use plants as part of a bioregenerative life support system capable of sustaining long-term human habitation in space, it is critical to understand how plants adapt to the stresses associated with extended growth in spaceflight. Optimally, dormant seeds would be germinated on orbit to divorce the effects of spaceflight from the one-time...
Research
Full-text available
This is an social media article discussing the importance of understanding plants response to gravity and mechanical stimulation in order to better prepare crops for martian farming and how recent technological advancements allow everyday citizens to get involved in this new frontier!
Presentation
Full-text available
Prunus domestica (plum) trees have been developed that ectopically express the Flowering Locus T-1 (FT1) gene. The resulting phenotypes overcome the barriers that have prevented the use of tree fruit species as candidate crops in bio-regenerative life-support systems, thereby opening the door to a new class of candidate crop species. In addition to...
Poster
Full-text available
NASA GeneLab: An investigation into the natural variation of Arabidopsis response to microgravity.
Chapter
Full-text available
Arabidopsis thaliana was the fi rst higher organism to have its genome sequenced and is now widely regarded as the model dicot. Like all plants, Arabidopsis develops distinct growth patterns in response to different environmental stimuli. This can be seen in the gravitropic response of roots. Methods to investigate this particular tropism are prese...
Article
Full-text available
Mechanical forces can be imposed on plants either from the environment, through factors such as the weather, mechanical properties of the soil and animal movement, or through the internal forces generated by the interplay between turgor-driven growth and the rigid plant cell wall. Such mechanical cues have profound effects on plant growth and devel...
Poster
Full-text available
This poster was made by the UW Madions Gilroy AstroBotany Lab. This poster explores the response of cml24 mutants to their mechanical environment.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Plant organs use gravity as a growth guide, a process called gravitropism. Accordingly, shoots grow upward toward light, which they can use for photosynthesis, and roots grow downward, into the soil, when they can take up water and nutrients needed for plant growth and development, as well as anchor the plant. A better understanding of the genetic...
Article
Full-text available
The small size of Arabidopsis provides both opportunities and difficulties for laboratory research. Large numbers of plants can be grown in a relatively small area making it easy to observe and investigate interesting phenotypes. Conversely, their small size can also make it difficult to obtain large quantities of tissue for investigation using mod...
Article
Full-text available
Using targeted expression of a constitutively active repressor of GA signalling Susana Ubeda-Tomas et al., (2007) demonstrated that GA action in endodermal cells is necessary for correct root growth. However, GUS studies have shown the final and penultimate GA-biosynthetic genes are not expressed in the endodermis, indicating movement of GAs may be...

Questions

Questions (12)
Question
Is there a database containing all the Arabidopsis genes associated with each plant hormone? Unfortunately none of the links to the Arabidopsis Hormone Database and "AHD2.0" work.
Links in this article don't work.
So is there an alternative source of an authoritative list of loci involved in each hormones signalling pathway?
Do i have to start striping lists out off various reviews?
Question
I want to know if Arabidopsis columbia plants expressing 35S:GFP will still glow if turned into a stem cell culture using IAA?
Question
I'd like to analyze some Snail (Helix lucorum) RNAseq data and was wondering if there is already an annotated genome to work with?
Question
We have a Arabidopsis MM2D cell culture that we'd like to transform with a fluorescent construct (with antibiotic resistance gene). Can we just add Agrobacterium to a liquid culture containing the cells? Any suggestions or links to protocols are gratefully received.
Question
I'd really like to do a co-localization study but need some florescent markers that are genetically encoded ideally within WT Arabidopsis Col-0. I plan to use a confocal microscope to view them in the primary root tip.
Question
I have some Arabidopsis transcripts that i'd like to investigate with QPCR.
I've looked at few webs sites and papers but am still unsure what is the best & easiest way to design primers for this purpose.
Question
I've just aquired some Brachy seeds and I am trying to grow them for the first time. I'd like to grow them on agar and was wondering if anybody had any advice?
I've put them on 1.5% agar with 1/2 MS salts (like i usually do with Arabidopsis).
Question
I am currently using Ambion DNAse to remove any DNA contamination from my RNA samples. The protocol requires a 37C incubation for 30min and then a 75C incubation for 10min to deactivate the enzyme. The protocol also says to add EDTA to prevent RNA denaturation during the hot incubation. I think the protocol implies that the EDTA should be added after the 37C incubation but i'm not sure. Here's the link to the protocol (https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://tools.lifetechnologies.com/content/sfs/manuals/4393898B.pdf ). Does anyone know if the DNase enzyme will still effectively remove the DNA if the EDTA is present during the 37C incubation?
Question
I've read various papers on how to quantify microRNA by stemloop PCR and other QRT-PCR machine based methods but none ever explain how to design the primers or other essential details.

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Natural wildtype variations and target mutant plants were grown on the international space station, sample were frozen for return to earth and their transcriptomes were subsequently sequenced for comparison with ground controls.