Amanda J. Wright

Assistant Professor
Biological Sciences

Amanda Wright is a plant cell biologist whose lab uses genetics and microscopy to research how plant cells orient their division plane during mitosis.  Amanda received her bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University where she studied phyllostomid bat evolution and her PhD from Harvard University where she studied the role of microtubules in asymmetric cell division in C. elegans.  After a short post doc at Harvard investigating RNAi in C. elegans, Amanda obtained a NIH-funded post-doctoral position in maize genetics with Laurie Smith at UCSD.  Amanda started her lab at UNT in 2009 and was awarded an NSF CAREER grant in 2014.  The Wright lab is pursuing two main avenues of research at this time.  The first is a genetic screen to isolate new maize mutants with defects in division plane orientation.  Interesting mutants will be characterized and cloned using next generation sequencing technologies.  The second is an investigation into the role of microtubule severing enzymes (including katanin, spastin, and fidgetin) in maize cell biology and development.

Research Interests: 
  • Large genetic screen to isolate, characterize, and clone new maize mutants with defects in division plane orientation during stomata formation.
  • Cloning and characterization of dcd2, a maize mutant with defects in division plane orientation during stomata formation.
  • Understanding the role of katanin, a microtubule severing protein, in asymmetric cell division in maize.
  • Initial in vitro and in vivo characterization of the putative maize microtubule severing proteins, spastin and fidgetin.
  • Addition of a yeast two hybrid screening module to UNT's undergraduate cell biology lab which will provide the students with a "real" research experience within an undergraduate classroom.
  • National Science Foundation. CAREER: Genetic approach to identifying proteins necessary for division plane orientation during plant development. (PI). $588,844. 7/31/14–7/31/18.
Publications: 

PubMed Search

Rasmussen, C., Wright, A.J. and Muller, S. (2013). The role of the cytoskeleton and associated proteins in determination of the plant cell division plane. Plant J 75, 258-269.

*Hinas, A., *Wright, A.J. and Hunter, C.P. (2012). SID-5 is an endosome-associated protein required for efficient systemic RNAi in C. elegans. Current Biology 22, 1938-43. (*both authors contributed equally to this work)