Kaisa Kajala, Utrecht University
“How do roots protect themselves?”
Many crops, such as tomato, have a root cell layer that strengthens the roots and protects against from drought and flooding. Kaisa will use molecular tools to study how the strengthening of this layer is controlled on genetic level. This knowledge can be used for breeding more tolerant crops.
Wilma van Esse, Wageningen University & Research
“Flowering time genes branching out”
The timing of flowering determines not only when a flower is formed but also the seed number per spike, seed weight and number of branches (tillers). Wilma will study how these traits are linked at the molecular level in order to improve yield through knowledge-based breeding strategies.
Wouter Kohlen Wageningen University & Research
“To multiply you must divide”
Plants are unable to move. However, a plant can adjust its body architecture to suit its needs. In some cases, new axes of growth are initiated by mitotic re-activation of fully differentiated cells. Humans cannot do this. Wouter will investigate what makes a plant able to initiate these cell divisions.
Jose Lozano Torres, Wageningen University & Research
“Mapping the onset of plant parasitism”
Plant parasitic worms are one of the most damaging pests in agriculture. Understanding the start of parasitism is fundamental for its management. Biologists will use novel technologies to measure at cellular level the first molecular changes needed to cause a parasitic disease. This knowledge will largely contribute for crop breeding.
Elwira Smakowska Luzan, Wageningen University & Research
“ROS perception by plant receptor kinases”
Plants respond to environmental stresses by the massive production of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS are presumably sensed by extracellular Receptor Kinases (RKs) that might function as sophisticated sensors. Here, we propose to gain a system-level understanding of how RKs networks influence and are influenced by, ROS signalling.