David W Galbraith

David W Galbraith

Professor, Plant Science
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(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.

Galbraith, D., Godavarti, M., Rodriguez, J. J., Yopp, T. A., Lambert, G. M., & Galbraith, D. W. (1996). Automated particle classification based on digital acquisition and analysis of flow cytometric pulse waveforms. Cytometry, 24(4).

In flow cytometry, the typical use of front-end analog processing limits the pulse waveform features that can be measured to pulse integral, height, and width. Direct digitizing of the waveforms provides a means for the extraction of additional features, for example, pulse skewness and kurtosis, and Fourier properties. In this work, we have first demonstrated that the Fourier properties of the pulse can be employed usefully for discrimination between different types of cells that otherwise cannot be classified by using only time-domain features of the pulse. We then implemented and evaluated automatic procedures for cell classification based on neural networks. We established that neural networks could provide an efficient means of classification of cell types without the need for user interaction. The neural networks were also employed in an innovative manner for analysis of the digital flow cytometric data without feature extraction. The performance of the neural networks was compared with that of a more conventional means of classification, the K-means clustering algorithm. Neural networks can be realized in hardware, and this, in addition to their highly parallel architecture, makes them an important potential part of real-time analysis systems. These results are discussed in terms of the design of a real-time digital data acquisition system for flow cytometry.

LaJeunesse, T. C., Lambert, G., Andersen, R. A., Coffroth, M. A., & Galbraith, D. W. (2005). Symbiodinium (Pyrrhophyta) genome sizes (DNA content) are smallest among dinoflagellates. JOURNAL OF PHYCOLOGY, 41(4), 880-886.
Pang, X., Halaly, T., Crane, O., Keilin, T., Keren-Keiserman, A., Ogrodovitch, A., Galbraith, D., & Etti, O. r. (2007). Involvement of calcium signalling in dormancy release of grape buds. Journal of Experimental Botany, 58(12), 3249-3262.

PMID: 17977848;Abstract:

Artificial induction of grape bud dormancy release by hydrogen cyanamide (HC) serves as a reliable model system to explore the events occurring shortly after the induction of dormancy release. Recently, a group of genes with remarkable differences in expression level between HC-treated and control buds was identified. The identification of several calcium signalling-related genes within that group raised the hypothesis of the involvement of Ca2+ signalling in grape bud dormancy release. Therefore, the effects of HC treatment on the expression profiles of several calcium sensors, the effect of the plasma membrane calcium channel blocker LaCl3 and the calcium chelator EGTA on HC-induced and chilling-induced bud-break, and the effect of HC application on calcium-dependent protein phosphorylation activities in the bud tissue were studied. Here the HC-induced expression of Ca2+-ATPase is described, indicating that this treatment might evoke an increase in [Ca2+]cyt. Similar induction was confirmed for calmodulin, calmodulin-binding protein, and calcium-dependent protein kinase (CDPK). Both LaCl3 and EGTA blocked the inducing effect of HC on bud-break, and their inhibitory effects were removed by supplying exogenous Ca2+. Calcium-dependent histone phosphorylation was up to 70% higher in HC-treated buds. Endogenous protein phosphorylation assays detected four proteins exhibiting increased phosphorylation following HC treatment, of which two were phosphorylated in a calcium-dependent manner. One of these, a 47 kDa protein, presented strong and Ca2+-dependent phosphorylation only in HC-treated buds. The potential role of CDPK in the phosphorylation of this protein was supported by an immunoprecipitation assay. The data suggest, for the first time, that calcium signalling is involved in the mechanism of bud dormancy release. © 2007 The Author(s).