Phone: 573-882-9830 or 573-882-1575 (lab)
371D Bond Life Sciences Center
Paula McSteen is an associate professor of biological sciences and part of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG). Developmental biologist Paula McSteen is studying the genetics of the maize plant, and in particular she is investigating how a certain plant growth hormone – auxin – affects the manner in which a corn plant grows branches, leaves, flowers, and ears. In cooperation with other researchers, McSteen discovered that auxin is critical for controlling growth within a group of plant stem cells, called meristems, which can develop into leaves, flowers or any number of plant organs. McSteen’s research is expected to improve understanding of the corn plant, which at some point may lead to increased crop yields. Her work with maize has already led other researchers to begin investigations on how the hormone auxin works in other plants, including trees.