David W Galbraith
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Professor, Plant Science
Primary Department
(520) 621-9153
Work Summary
I examine the molecular functions of the different cells found in the tissues and organs of plants and animals and how they combine these functions to optimize the health and vigor of the organism.
Research Interest
David Galbraith obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, and postdoctoral training as a NATO Fellow at Stanford University. His first academic appointment was at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and he became Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona in 1989. His research has focused on the development of instrumentation and methods for the analysis of biological cells, organs, and systems. He is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the development and use of flow cytometry and sorting in plants, developing widely-used methods for the analysis of genome size and cell cycle status, and for the production of somatic hybrids. He also was among the first to develop methods for the analysis of gene expression within specific cell types, using markers based on Fluorescent Protein expression for flow sorting these cells, and microarray platforms for analysis of their transcriptional activities and protein complements. Current interests include applications of highly parallel platforms for transcript and protein profiling of minimal sample sizes, and for analysis of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that regulate gene expression during normal development and in diseased states, specifically pancreatic cancer. He is also funded to study factors involved in the regulation of bud dormancy in Vitis vinifera, and has interests in biodiversity and improvement of third-world agriculture. He has published more than 180 scholarly research articles, holds several patents, was elected a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science in 2002, and serves on the editorial board of Cytometry Part A. He is widely sought as a speaker, having presented over 360 seminars in academic, industrial and conference settings. He was elected Secretary of the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry in 2016. Keywords: Plant and Animal Cellular Engineering; Biological Instrumentation; Flow Cytometry and Sorting


Brown, J. K., Lambert, G. M., Ghanim, M., Czosnek, H., & Galbraith, D. W. (2005). Nuclear DNA content of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Aleyrodidae: Hemiptera) estimated by flow cytometry. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 95(4), 309-312.
BIO5 Collaborators
Judith K Brown, David W Galbraith

PMID: 16048678;Abstract:

The nuclear DNA content of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennnadius) was estimated using flow cytometry. Male and female nuclei were stained with propidium iodide and their DNA content was estimated using chicken red blood cells and Arabidopsis thaliana L. (Brassicaceae) as external standards. The estimated nuclear DNA content of male and female B. tabaci was 1.04 and 2.06 pg, respectively. These results corroborated previous reports based on chromosome counting, which showed that B. tabaci males are haploid and females are diploid. Conversion between DNA content and genome size (1 pg DNA = 980 Mbp) indicate that the haploid genome size of B. tabaci is 1020 Mbp, which is approximately five times the size of the genome of the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster Meigen. These results provide an important baseline that will facilitate genomics-based research for the B. tabaci complex. © CAB International, 2005.

Jiexun, L. i., Xin, L. i., Hua, S. u., Chen, H., & Galbraith, D. W. (2006). A framework of integrating gene relations from heterogeneous data sources: An experiment on Arabidopsis thaliana. Bioinformatics, 22(16), 2037-2043.
BIO5 Collaborators
Hsinchun Chen, David W Galbraith

PMID: 16820427;Abstract:

One of the most important goals of biological investigation is to uncover gene functional relations. In this study we propose a framework for extraction and integration of gene functional relations from diverse biological data sources, including gene expression data, biological literature and genomic sequence information. We introduce a two-layered Bayesian network approach to integrate relations from multiple sources into a genome-wide functional network. An experimental study was conducted on a test-bed of Arabidopsis thaliana. Evaluation of the integrated network demonstrated that relation integration could improve the reliability of relations by combining evidence from different data sources. Domain expert judgments on the gene functional clusters in the network confirmed the validity of our approach for relation integration and network inference. © 2006 Oxford University Press.

Wenying, X. u., Bak, S., Decker, A., Paquette, S. M., Feyereisen, R., & Galbraith, D. W. (2001). Microarray-based analysis of gene expression in very large gene families: The cytochrome P450 gene superfamily of Arabidopsis thaliana. Gene, 272(1-2), 61-74.

PMID: 11470511;Abstract:

Cytochrome P450 (P450s) are heme-thiolate protein products of a very large gene superfamily, present in all kingdoms and involved in a variety of metabolic reactions. P450s are classified according to the degree of amino acid sequence identity, with P450s of the same family defined as having >40% identity, and P450s of the same subfamily having >55% identity. Currently, 273 P450 genes distributed over 45 families have been identified in Arabidopsis, and its genome is estimated to contain as many as 286. Genome-wide DNA microarrays make it possible to broadly correlate P450 gene activity with alterations in physiological or developmental states. A potential problem with microarray research is that sequence similarity between and within these families of closely related genes may lead to cross-hybridization. We designed experiments to systematically evaluate the specificity of P450 microarrays, and showed that conditions could be optimized to provide a very high degree of hybridization specificity. Under these conditions, and employing a 20% intensity value of maximum hybridization intensity as a cut-off, labeled P450 genes exhibited essentially no cross-hybridization between families and within subfamilies. We also compared the gene transcription levels of microarray probes derived from EST clones and from genomic DNA sequences for which ESTs were not available, using cDNA produced from RNA from various Arabidopsis tissue as the target. Many of the P450 genes displayed tissue-specific expression, leading to hypotheses as to the function of individual genes and their regulation. We also observed that several of the genomic sequences reported high levels of expression, highlighting the limitations of expression analysis based on ESTs alone. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Noizet, M., Harrabi, F., Vijayalakshmi, M., Galbraith, D., Thomas, D., & Thomasset, B. (2008). Targeted protein accumulation promoted by autoassembly and its recovery from plant cells. Biotechnology Journal, 3(3), 392-402.

PMID: 18264977;Abstract:

The expression of a fusion protein formed between the avian infectious bronchitis virus M protein and the bacterial enzyme β-glucuronidase (GUS) in plants promotes the formation of new organization of the endoplasmic reticulunn in tobacco plants. This unusual organization of the membranes, never present in nontransformed plants, has been explained by the oligomerization of the GUS domains of the IBVM-GUS fusion proteins. These specific organized membranes could have broad implications for biotechnology since their formation could be used as a mechanism for retaining and accumulating resident proteins in specific and discrete membrane compartments. In this study, we have shown that the unusual organization of native membranes due to overexpression of the IBVM-GUS fusion gene in tobacco transgenic plants and calli is present at higher levels in plant cell suspensions than in plant tissues. In these cell suspensions, IBVM-GUS protein was continuously synthesized and accumulated throughout the cell culture. An enrichment of the chimeric IBVM-GUS protein corresponding to a five-fold increase in the microsomal fractions was achieved and the GUS enzyme did not show any modification on enzyme kinetics. However, the GUS activity could be differentially distributed in the fractions eluted at different pH suggesting differences in the surface topography of histidine residues for this recombinant GUS. © 2008 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Galbraith, D. W. (2004). Cytometry and Plant Sciences: A Personal Retrospective. Cytometry Part A, 58(1), 37-44.