Profile Photo of Larry Griffing
Larry Griffing

Associate Professor

Fax: 979-845-2891


3258 TAMU
Biological Sciences Building West
Room 104

Biological Sciences Building West
Room 105

Joined the Department in 1986

  • B.S., 1976, University of Utah, Biology.
  • Ph.D., 1981, Stanford University, Biology.
  • Postdoctoral research, Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon), University of Saskatchewan and Plant Biotechnology Institute, (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan).
  • Program Director, National Science Foundation, Cell Biology (1993-1994)
  • Associate Director, Information Technology in Science, Center for Teaching and Learning (2001-2005)
  • Member and Chair, Education Committee, American Society of Plant Biologists (2003-2010)
  • PlantingScience.Org Steering Committee and Module Developer (2005-present)


Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences Program
American Society of Plant Biologists.

Plant Cell Biology, Computational Modeling and Imaging, and Inquiry-based Science Education

I am testing the theory that the endoplasmic reticulum, ER, is the circulatory network of the cell, connecting different organelles to each other, allowing them to share signals, lipids, and proteins.

I am particularly interested in how the cytoskeletal system of plants regulates the movement of the ER network. In interphase, the actinomyosin network drives movement of the ER, just as it drives the movement organelles through the cytoplasm in a process called cytoplasmic streaming, a phenomenon in plants, but not animal cells.  Of the seventeen different myosin forms in plants, only six are involved in active cytoplasmic streaming. We are sorting out which of those six guide the different movements of the endoplasmic reticulum.

I am also interested in the nature of the nexus between the ER and other organelles, including the chloroplast, plasma membrane, and Golgi.  I have recently shown that by photo-stimulating the nexus between the chloroplast and the ER, the directional flow within the ER can be reversibly altered.  This ability to generate very localized ER stress may have application in a wide variety of fields – from finding cures for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s syndrome to developing crops that can better-tolerate physiological heat stress and drought.

Looking at flow in the ER is complicated because the organelle has a very complicated structure. I am collaborating with computational scientists in San Diego, California and Zurich, Switzerland to computationally model how flow can occur in a directional manner in such a complicated web of membrane tubules.

My research and teaching in a variety of imaging fields has motivated me to write a book, called Imaging Life, which will be published in 2021/2022 by Wiley. It is an undergraduate textbook in digital imaging of trans-dimensional events in biology – from photography of Grizzly bears to imaging single molecules with the light microscope.

My teaching is now completely directed to inquiry-based instruction. I have developed a module for on the genetics of Arabidopsis thaliana, the first plant to have its genome completely sequenced. I also teach junior and senior-level undergraduate labs that allow students to do authentic science research.

  1. Griffing, LR. Dancing with the Stars: Using Image Analysis to Study the Choreography of the Endoplasmic Reticulum and Its Partners and of Movement Within Its Tubules. Methods Mol Biol. 2024;2772 :87-114. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-3710-4_7. PubMed PMID:38411808 .
  2. Kumar, K, Gibbs, HC, Yeh, AT, Griffing, LR. The Sterol Trafficking Pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana. Front Plant Sci. 2021;12 :616631. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2021.616631. PubMed PMID:34122463 PubMed Central PMC8187924.
  3. Griffing, LR. The lost portrait of Robert Hooke?. J Microsc. 2020;278 (3):114-122. doi: 10.1111/jmi.12828. PubMed PMID:31497878 .
  4. Griffing, LR. Dancing with the Stars: Using Image Analysis to Study the Choreography of the Endoplasmic Reticulum and Its Partners and of Movement Within Its Tubules. Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1691 :75-102. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7389-7_7. PubMed PMID:29043671 .
  5. Griffing, LR, Lin, C, Perico, C, White, RR, Sparkes, I. Plant ER geometry and dynamics: biophysical and cytoskeletal control during growth and biotic response. Protoplasma. 2017;254 (1):43-56. doi: 10.1007/s00709-016-0945-3. PubMed PMID:26862751 PubMed Central PMC5216105.
  6. Griffing, LR, Gao, HT, Sparkes, I. ER network dynamics are differentially controlled by myosins XI-K, XI-C, XI-E, XI-I, XI-1, and XI-2. Front Plant Sci. 2014;5 :218. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00218. PubMed PMID:24904614 PubMed Central PMC4033215.
  7. Griffing, LR. Who invented the dichotomous key? Richard Waller's watercolors of the herbs of Britain. Am J Bot. 2011;98 (12):1911-23. doi: 10.3732/ajb.1100188. PubMed PMID:22074776 .
  8. Griffing, LR. Laser stimulation of the chloroplast/endoplasmic reticulum nexus in tobacco transiently produces protein aggregates (boluses) within the endoplasmic reticulum and stimulates local ER remodeling. Mol Plant. 2011;4 (5):886-95. doi: 10.1093/mp/ssr072. PubMed PMID:21873618 .
  9. Griffing, LR. Networking in the endoplasmic reticulum. Biochem Soc Trans. 2010;38 (3):747-53. doi: 10.1042/BST0380747. PubMed PMID:20491660 .
  10. Griffing, LR. FRET analysis of transmembrane flipping of FM4-64 in plant cells: is FM4-64 a robust marker for endocytosis?. J Microsc. 2008;231 (2):291-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2818.2008.02042.x. PubMed PMID:18778427 .
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