Detecting and responding to environmental perturbations are important for all living organisms. One of the most important distinguishing features of plants is that they are sessile and thus have to endure environmental challenges. Our lab is interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying plant responses to harsh environments such as soil salinity, drought and cold temperatures. In addition, we are interested in the mechanisms of transcriptional gene silencing and in the role of epigenetic gene regulation in stress adaptation. We use a combination of genetic, biochemical, genomic and proteomic approaches to analyze various levels of gene regulation (chromatin level/epigenetic, transcriptional, posttranscriptional, and protein activity) and to understand stress signaling and stress tolerance. Our long-term goals are to elucidate the signaling pathways used by plants in responding to environmental stresses and to identify key genes for modifying the responses of crops to environmental stresses which ultimately will lead to major contributions to agriculture and the environment.