As they are literally rooted in place, plants possess remarkable mechanisms that perceive, interpret, and respond to internal and external cues so as to optimise plant growth & development relative to prevailing environment conditions. Despite the incredible diversity in plant forms, the molecular mechanisms that control plant responses to internal and external cues are highly conserved across diverse genera. The timing and localisation of these mechanisms shape plant & development. Our research team aims to gain greater insights into molecular mechanisms that plants employ to convert internal cues and external signals into appropriate adjustments in resource acquisition and allocation, focusing on the role of gene regulation in conditioning these adjustments. Toward this end, we test hypotheses related to the roles of small-molecule signaling, transcription factor function, epigenome modification, transcriptome remodeling, and transcriptional networks in conditioning plant responses to internal and external cues. We test hypotheses using comparative functional genomics / epigenomics approaches, bridging basic plant biology conducted with the model species A. thaliana to the economically and ecologically important genus Populus. Our research builds on experience in dissection of plant perception of sugars and water, reconfiguration of gene expression, and modification of plant function.