Dr. Gary G. Cote'


Office: 274 Center for the Sciences
Lab: 266 Center for the Sciences
Box 6931, Radford University
Radford, VA 24142-6939, U.S.A.
Tel:(540) 831-5630
E-mail: gcote@radford.edu

Courses Taught:

  • BIOL 105 - Biology for Health Sciences
  • BIOL 132 - Biology of Cells and Microorganisms
  • BIOL 432 - The Eukaryotic Cell
  • BIOL 460 - Senior Seminar in Biology
  • BIOL 481 - Mycology



I am trained as a biochemist/cell biologist. Currently my research interests focus on plant cells that produce crystals of calcium oxalate. I am particularly interested in plants of the Arum family, and do much of my work on the common -- and poisonous -- houseplant, Dieffenbachia. This plant, and some of its aroid relatives have crystals that can be actively shot out of the cell, presumably into the mouth tissues of anything eating it. A picture of one of these ballistic cells is shown to the right, taken under polarization microscopy. Note the nipples at either end where the cell wall is weak and can be ruptured to allow crystals to be shot out. Other plants also make crystals which may play roles other than poisoning herbivores.  I am interested in what role these cells play in the plant's life, how the cells develop, what controls their development, and how they differ, at the cellular and molecular level, from other cells.  One project we are working on currently is the possible role of crystals in trees dropping their leaves in the fall.