Molecular and Cellular Dynamics in Plant Reproduction
Molecular and Cellular Dynamics in Plant Reproduction

Contact Information

Dr. Tomo Kawashima
Principal Investigator

452 Plant Science Building Lexington, KY 40546-0091


Archived News

Archived News

Archived News



Jimin's review article highlighting post plasmogamic events of plant sexual reproduction has been published in JEZ-B Molecular and Developmental Evolution.


Our Nature Cell Biology paper is highlighed in the University News UKNow!


Jacob Sullivan (Bio Major) has joined in our lab as a NSF Summer Intern. He will be working on Arabidopsis endosperm development with Anthony. Welcome to my lab, Jacob!


Yuki's review article summarzing plasmogamic paternal contributions to the zygote dynamics has been published in Frontiers in Plant Science. Congratulations, Yuki!


Our Nature Cell Biology paper is highlighed in the UK CAFE news site!


The work shed light on the paternal epigenetic reprogramming in flowering plants has been published in Nature Cell Biology! Congratulations to Dr. Michael Borg at Gregor Mendel Institute, Vienna, Austria!


Tomo gave a talk at the Department of Botany & Plant Plathology, Purdue University, entitled Deciphering dynamics of plant fertilization and seed endosperm development on March 5, 2020.


Foteh has been selected to receive one of two 2020 TeKrony Graduate Student Travel Fellowship in Seed Biology Awards. Congratulations, Foteh! 


Thank you so much for many applications to our NSF & USDA Summer Internship programs! We stopped accepting applications.


Our lab is highlighted in the International Association of Sexual Plant Reproduction News Letter!


Happy New Year!

The total number of citation reached to 1,000!

The lab members are now working on manuscripts to share our new discovery soon!



I am looking for a student who is interested in seed biology and plant molecular biology who can work with us in summer 2020! 

Please contact me ( if you are interested in this USDA summer internship progeram

Videos describing our USDA-dunded summer internship proejcts from previous years (John & Bella)


A commentary article for Maruyama et al. "Fertilization-Coupled Sperm Nuclear Fusion Is Required for Normal Endosperm Nuclear Proliferation" has been published in Plant & Cell Physiology.


Yukinosuke Oonishi (Yuki) has joined in our lab as a visiting postdoc supported by JSPS! Welcome to the Kawahima lab, Yuki!


Thank you so much for applying for a PhD position. We started a selecting process for this round, and we will notify if we open a new position!


We have generated a research topic "Mechanisms Supporting Successful Double Fertlization of Flowering Plants" in Forinters in Plance Science.

Please check this website and submit your manuscripts!


Our NSF-funded endosperm project is highlighted in UK college news!


Jimin has rejoined to our lab as a postdoc. Jimin will continue working on a collaborative work among Dr. Ling Yuan (KTRDC, UK), Dr. Masaru Takagi (Saitama University), and us!


Sam Hacker has joined in my lab! He will work on image analyses!

Recruiting new members!!! 8.27.2019

We have TWO openings, one post-doc and one PhD student, in the lab of Tomo Kawashima at University of Kentucky to study molecular and cellular dynamics of endosperm development. The endosperm is a part of the seed and performs unique cellular processes such as nuclear divisions without cytokinesis and cellularization, providing us a great platform to investigate plant cellular dynamics as well as how endosperm development affects the final seed size. Successful candidates will use live-imaging, genetics, genomics, and biochemical approaches, to investigate (i) how plants control cytoskeleton dynamics in the multinuclear endosperm and (ii) how altered endosperm development affects subsequent seed development. The candidates will actively participate in collaborations within the US as well as with Japan to perform high-impact science through this project.


These positions are funded by NSF for 3 years, with a possible extension, contingent upon performance and funding and can start October 1st, 2019.


Qualifications for a PhD student position: 

  1. B.S. in Science [If you already have a M.S. degree, M.S. degree credits (18 maximum) can be recognized toward PhD degree credits] 
  2. The minimum TOEFL score is 550 (paper-based) 213 (computer-based), or 79 (internet-based), if ou are from a non-English spoken country
  3. GRE score is NOT required upon submission of your application
  4. Basic molecular biology knowledge and bench work experience
  5. Interest in plant molecular biology and reproduction
  6. Strong motivation and willingness to learn new techniques


Qualifications for a post doc position: 

  1. PhD in molecular, cell, or developmental biology, biochemistry, or related disciplines (scientists who received a PhD within 2-3 years or fresh graduates are encouraged to apply) 
  2. Experience in confocal microscopy, genomics (SNP identification/RNA-seq/ChIP-seq), and/or actin filament biochemical assays is preferable, but not required
  3. Ability to think critically and innovatively, and write manuscripts for publication
  4. Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work well independently and within a group


To apply, please send:

  1. A cover letter summarizing your research interests, career goals, potential start date, & your motivation to join the Kawashima Lab
  2. CV
  3. Contact information of three references 

to Tomo Kawashima (


Katy and Evan from BIO have joined in our lab! Welcome to the lab!


Perspective article "Building New Insights in Plant Gametogenesis from an Evolutionay Perspective" in Nature Plants is now online.


Bella Usenza started working in the lab as a USDA summer intern to study soybean seed development. Welcome, Bella!


John Thomas gave his research presentation at ABT 395 symposium! Good job, John!


Fatema's review article "Gamete Nuclear Migration in Animals and Plants" in Frontiers in Plant Science is now online !


John Thomas gave a presentation of his research "Investigating Effects of Light Intensity Duing Early Seed Development on Physiology and Yield in Soybean" at ABT 395 symposium. He did a great job!



How new cell types evolve remains a major question in biology. Across multi-cellular organisms, reproduction generally occurs via small, motile sperm that fertilize large immotile eggs. However, the widely varied morphologies of sperm makes one wonder whether this cell type evolved from a single common ancestor or if sperm identity was defined by distinct events in separate group of organisms.

In work published today in Nature Communications, a collaborative project found that a single molecular event which occurred 700 million years ago was responsible for the evolution of sperm in all land plants.


Commentary to Plant Reproduction about its international conference held in Gifu, Japan 2018 is now available!


We are looking for a summer intern student (2019).

Please apply here by December 14th!



Congratulations, Foteh!

Foteh passed his oral qualifying exam!



NEW ABT 301/395 students!

Mr. John Thomas will be working on early phase seed development in soybean!

Mr. Griffin Beck will be working on myosin function in Arabidopsis fertilization!



Welcome Griffin!

Griffin Beck (ABT student) joined in our group! He is working on live imaging of Arabidopsis seed development! 


A Shared cis-Regulatory Module Activates Transcription in the Suspensor of Plant Embryos

KF Henry, AQ Bui, T Kawashima, RB Goldberg
Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences USA


TeKrony Graduate Travel Fellowship in Seed Biology 

Our graduate students, Foteh and Fatema, have been selected for Tekrony Gradute Travel Fellowship in Seed Biology. Congratulations!

Dr. TeKrony was a faculty member of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences for nearly 40 years. His research, primarily with corn and soybean, focused on techniques for the determination of seed vigor, the effect of the production environment on seed germination and vigor levels, and the relationship between seed germination and vigor levels and performance including seedling emergence in the field, yield and seed storability.  


Dr. Kawashima received the IPSS 3-Minute-Thesis People's Choice Award - Faculty

Congratulations to the winners of the First Annual 3-Minute-Thesis Competition, held Friday, February 16, 2018. Winners in the student competition are:  Lucas Araujo, First Place; Rebecca McGrail, Second Place; Mohammad Alsabri, Third Place.  In addition, audience members voted for their favorite speaker among student and faculty presentations.  Lucas Araujo was chosen fan favorite among student speakers.  Dr. Tomo Kawashima was fan favorite among the faculty speakers.

Contact Information

Dr. Tomo Kawashima
Principal Investigator

452 Plant Science Building Lexington, KY 40546-0091