Michael M. Neff, .
Dr. Neff grew up on the East Coast in Baltimore, Maryland where he attended the Friends (Quaker) school for his K-12 education. He moved to Colorado Springs in 1981 and was a biology major focusing on ecology at the Colorado College. At the same time, his parents moved to Seattle, Washington. Visits to the Northwest convinced Dr. Neff to move further west where he became more interested in bench-related research. It was while working in a virology lab at the University of Washington that he met his wife, Sandy O’Keefe. A fascination with plants led Dr. Neff to pursue a . degree in Botany at the University of Washington. After working as a lab technician in a yeast genetics lab with Dr. Trisha Davis, Dr. Neff rejoined the University of Washington Department of Botany to pursue his ., studying plant physiology with Dr. Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh. After graduating in 1995, Dr. Neff was a NIH postdoctoral fellow studying plant molecular genetics with Dr. Joanne Chory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla California. He was a faculty member in the Department of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri from 1999 to 2007 before accepting the new Crop Biotechnology faculty position in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Washington State University.
PIZ overexpression causes a clear upregulation of several BR biosynthesis genes such as ROT3 (-fold) and BR6ox2 ( CYP85A2  ) (-fold), and a weaker induction of CYP90D1 (-fold), a close homolog of ROT3  ,  and CPD gene expression (-fold) ( Table 1 ). In contrast, we noted that the expression of a BR inactivation gene, a BL hydroxylase BAS1, is downregulated (−-fold) in 35S:PIZ ( Table 2 ). The expression of other BR-regulated genes DWF4 , TOUCH4 ( TCH4 ) and BR ENHANCED EXPRESSION1 ( BEE1 )  ,  also changed with expected tendencies (, − and -fold, respectively) but with relatively high variations among replicates (data not shown). As expected from the strong growth phenotype, several genes involved in cell expansion or cell wall modification were downregulated in 35S:PIZ plants. These included expansin-like 1  ( ATEXLA1 , −-fold), cell wall loosening xyloglucan endotransglycosylase/hydrolase XTH33  (−-fold) and receptor like kinase THE1  (−) ( Table 2 ). The latter two were recently shown to be induced by BL and downregulated in bri1-5 mutants  ,  . Indeed, we found that more than 50% of the genes mis-regulated in 35S:PIZ exhibit similar transcriptional responses to BL treatment ( Tables 1 and 2 ). Interestingly, the majority of genes with altered expression encode proteins with enzymatic activities and we found very few genes implicated in signal perception or transduction. It should be also noted that other than BR-related genes, we found very few phytohormone-related genes and the only other genes that showed more than 2-fold difference in 35S:PIZ were those implicated in auxin response ( Table 2 ). We also noted that proteins localised to the endomembrane system are over-represented in both up- or downregulated categories ( Tables 1 and 2 ).