Nikhil and Thomas organized a super nice BBQ down at the lake serving Tandoori chicken and more. (And sorry for the loud baby ;-)
Blog post by Leen Abraham who joined our lab in August 2017
“Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better” - Albert Einstein-
I believe that nature has a solution to every problem. Even in the most modern era of science, all our research is seeking answers from nature to solve the many unanswered questions. This mystery of nature always fascinated me. My quest for nature and science destined me to an agriculture college where I did my bachelors and masters. This gave me a new insight into the inter play of science and nature and I could familiarise myself with plant breeding programmes, development of transgenic crops, different agronomic practices, extension services to the farmers etc. All this ignited my research interest in plant science and I undertook my masters study with the objective of developing an efficient transformation protocol for elephant foot yam. A considerable reduction in tuber yield was reported due to the incidence of mosaic disease in yam. To develop disease resistance and improve nutritional characteristics, transgenic technology was preferred due to low germplasm variability in the crop. The study yielded an efficient protocol for the development of transgenic elephant foot yam. The next project I worked on was a collaborative work between the network partners in India (ICAR- Central Tuber Crops Research Institute) and ETH, Zurich. The project aims to develop Cassava mosaic disease (CMD) resistant transgenic cassava via a RNA silencing strategy.
My research career so far was focussed on developing crops resistant to pathogens but for my doctoral studies I am interested in evolution of plant pathogens especially a devastating pathogen of wheat (the fungus Zymoseptoria tritici) by exploiting the tools of population genetics. My PhD project aims to analyse adaptive evolution driven by the regulation of effector gene expression in Z. tritici using transcriptome sequence. I will analyse how polymorphism in the genome influences gene expression both in pure cultures and during leaf infections. I hope that my project findings will make an important contribution to the control of wheat diseases.