Philip N. Benfey

Philip N. Benfey
Paul Kramer Distinguished Professor of Biology
CMB - Biology
DSCB - Developmental Genetics
Campus mail: 130 Science Drive, Room 137, Duke Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 357-1743

Education and Training

  • University of Paris (France), B.S. 1981
  • Harvard University , Ph.D. 1986

Selected Grants and Awards


Conditional root expansion mutants of Arabidopsis.

Regulation of cell expansion is essential to the formation of plant organs. We have characterized 21 mutations, representing six loci, that cause abnormal cell expansion in the root of Arabidopsis thaliana.

Conservation and diversification of SCARECROW in maize.

The SCARECROW (SCR) gene in Arabidopsis is required for asymmetric cell divisions responsible for ground tissue formation in the root and shoot. Previously, we reported that Zea mays SCARECROW (ZmSCR) is the likely maize ortholog of SCR.

Control of Arabidopsis root development.

The Arabidopsis root has been the subject of intense research over the past decades. This research has led to significantly improved understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying root development.

Defining the Path from Stem Cells to Differentiated Tissue.

The molecular events that control the progression from stem cells to differentiated tissue are largely unknown. The root of Arabidopsis is an excellent model to study this process, as cells at every stage of development are present at all times.

Detailed reconstruction of 3D plant root shape

We study the 3D reconstruction of plant roots from multiple 2D images. To meet the challenge caused by the delicate nature of thin branches, we make three innovations to cope with the sensitivity to image quality and calibration.