The research goal in the Staswick Lab is to understand how hormone conjugation is controlled and its overall importance to plant growth and survival. Plants use hormones to regulate a myriad of processes, including growth and development and protection from harmful organisms and environments. Maintaining the correct hormone levels in plant tissues is crucial for effective regulation of these processes. One important mechanism for doing this is conjugation of hormones to amino acids, either to deactivate or activate the hormone. Additionally, researchers are determining the mechanism of action for a class of growth-promoting synthetic compounds called tertiary amines. The model plant Arabidopsis and some of the major crop plants are used in the lab for this work.