Sterling Field am interested in understanding how plants adapt and survive during stress at the cellular level, particularly through altered regulation of phase separated membrane-less organelles.

Several examples of these organelles include Stress Granules; which store mRNA during stress, Processing Bodies, which degrade mRNA; and siRNA Bodies, which are essential for siRNA biosynthesis. These organelles provide a regulatory mechanism to physically partition and regulate mRNA within the cell, providing tight post-transcriptional regulation control of transcripts and translation.

While stress granules and processing bodies are relatively well studied in mammalian and yeast systems, how stress granules components are regulated, their sub-domains, and the stress granule structure requires further investigation. Further, the study of these membraneless organelles is a nascent field in plant biology, though their potential to help us understand how plants adapt and survive stress potentially holds major significance at the basic science level and for crop engineering.