Paul Hills

Paul Hills

As a plant molecular physiologist, I am interested in understanding how plants respond to environmental cues to regulate their growth and development at the molecular level. Presently, my research focuses on a number of low molecular weight chemicals present in the environment which are able to positively influence plant growth. These chemicals are often produced as signalling molecules by various different organisms in the environment, such as rhizosphere bacteria, fungi and by plants, in order to influence plant growth for symbiotic purposes. Alternatively, the chemicals may originate from abiotic sources such as fires, being utilised by the plants as ecological signals to detect changes in the environment. I am interested in understanding how plants perceive these signals, as well as the resultant changes in gene expression that ultimately lead to increased plant growth. Hopefully, if we can fully understand these processes, we can apply the knowledge to crop plants to enhance agricultural yield and productivity.

List of Publications

  • Taylor, NJ, PN Hills and J van Staden.  2007.  Cell division versus cell elongation: the control of radicle elongation during thermoinhibition of Tagetes minuta achenes.  Journal of Plant Physiology 164: 1612-1625
  • Malabadi, RB, PN Hills and J van Staden.  2006.  RAPD assessment of clonal identity of somatic seedlings derived from vegetative shoot apices of mature Pinus patula trees.  South African Journal of Botany 72: 181-183
  • Hills, PN, E Balázs and J van Staden.  2005.  Isolation of cDNA clones for genes that are differentially expressed during thermoinhibition in achenes of Tagetes minuta L.  Plant Growth Regulation 45: 83-94
    Taylor, NJ, PN Hills, Gold, JD, WA Stirk and J van Staden.  2005.  Factors contributing to the regulation of thermoinhibition in Tagetes minuta L.  Journal of Plant Physiology 162:  1270-1279
    Hills, PN and J van Staden.  2003.  Thermoinhibition of seed germination.  South African Journal of Botany 69: 455-461
  • Hills, PN and J van Staden.  2002.  An improved DNA extraction procedure for plant tissues with a high phenolic content.  South African Journal of Botany 68: 549-550
  • Podd, LA, PN Hills and J van Staden.  2002.  Physiological responses and extension of vase life of cut carnation flowers treated with ethanol and acetaldehyde. II. Protein content and enzyme activity.  Plant Growth Regulation  38: 107-117
  • Hills, PN, CD Viljoen and J van Staden.  2001.  Differences in polypeptide expression in thermoinhibited and germinating achenes of Tagetes minuta L.  Plant Growth Regulation  34:187-194