Dr. Rosangela (Ross) Sozzani

Assistant Professor

Plant Stem Cells, Plant Systems Biology


Research Interests

Our growing society faces new and dynamic challenges such as global climate change, the scarcity of arable land and the need for sustainable energy. Maximizing the utility of plants in each of these areas is key to meeting these challenges. Overall growth rate and biomass is largely regulated by the temporal and spatial control of stem cell self-renewal and differentiation of their progeny. When a stem cell divides it produces a copy of itself, and it produces a daughter cell that can develop into different types of cells. The means and mechanisms by which this occurs are poorly understood.

The Sozzani Lab research focuses on understanding how stem cells are organized and maintained in the root of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Our goal is to gain a coherent qualitative and quantitative understanding of stem cell maintenance at the systems-level. Our research leverages techniques derived from molecular, developmental and cell biology, mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and engineering. In plant systems, stem cell regulation has clear implications for increasing the production of crops used for food, fiber and fuel. Our research will reveal a specific molecular pathway of plant stem cells, and provide broader insights into the fundamental properties of stem cells across the plant and animal kingdoms.


Systems Biology Modeling of Plant Regulation PB495-011/595-011 and


Harnessing the Power of Plant Stem Cell Regulation for Addressing the World’s Demand for Food, Fuel and Fiber, NC Agriculture & Life Sciences Research Foundation.

Acquisition of a Zeiss LSM 880 confocal microscope with Airyscan for research and training at North Carolina State University, NSF DBI- Major Research Instrumentation

Selected Publications

   de Luis Balaguer MA, Fisher AP, Clark NM, Moller B. Weijers D, Williams C. Sozzani R. An inference approach combines spatial and temporal gene expression data to predict gene regulatory networks in Arabidopsis stem cells.  PNAS (under review)

Clark NM, Hinde E, Winter CM, Fisher AP, Crosti G, Blilou I, Gratton E, Benfey PN, Sozzani R. Tracking transcription factor mobility and interaction in Arabidopsis roots with fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. eLife, 2016

de Luis Balaguer MA, Ramos-Pezzotti M, Rahhal MB, Melvin CE, Johannes E, Horn TJ, Sozzani R. Multi-sample Arabidopsis Growth and Imaging Chamber (MAGIC) for long term imaging in the ZEISS Lightsheet Z.1. Developmental Biology, 2016

Fisher AP, Sozzani R. Uncovering the networks involved in stem cell maintenance and asymmetric cell division in the Arabidopsis root. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 2016

Slattery RA, Grennan AK, Sivaguru M, Sozzani R, Ort DR. Light sheet microscopy reveals more gradual light attenuation in light-green versus dark-green soybean leaves. Journal of Experimental Botany, 2016

Moreno-Risueno MA, Sozzani R, Yardımcı GG, Petricka JJ, Vernoux T, Blilou I, Alonso J, Winter CM, Ohler U, Scheres B, Benfey PN. Transcriptional control of tissue formation throughout root development. Science, 2015

  Clark NM, de Luis Balaguer MA, Sozzani R. Experimental data and computational modeling link auxin gradient and development in the Arabidopsis root. Frontiers in Plant Sciences, 2014

Gallagher, KL, Sozzani R, Lee C-M.  Intercellular protein movement: deciphering the language of development. Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology, 2014

Sozzani R, Iyer-Pascuzzi. (2014) Postembryonic control of root meristem growth and development. Current Opinion in Plant Biology. 17, 7-12.

Moubayidin L, Di Mambro R, Sozzani R, Pacifici E, Salvi E, Terpstra I, Bao D, van Dijken A, Dello Ioio R, Perilli S, Ljung K, Benfey PN, Heidstra R, Costantino P, Sabatini S. (2013)Spatial coordination between stem cell activity and cell differentiation in the root meristem. Dev. Cell 26, 405-415.

For a complete List of Publications click here