Congratulations to Anna Dobritsa whose three-year grant entitled "Molecular mechanisms of cell polarity and development of distinct plasma membrane domains during formation of pollen apertures" was recently funded by the National Science foundation. The Dobritsa lab is interested in how cells use extracellular matrix materials to control their shapes, growth, and motility, to promote tissue formation, and to protect themselves. To perform these functions, cells often need to create regions on their surface which will differ from the surrounding areas in their protein and lipid composition. These regions are known as cellular domains. One of the lab’s focus points is to use the development of exine, the outer cell wall of plant pollen grains, as a model. In this project, they are using the formation of easily recognizable domains on the surface of pollen grains (the aperture domains) as a model to investigate molecular mechanisms cells use to direct molecules to specific positions and generate distinct domains of the plasma membrane.