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Katharina Schiessl

SYSFLO Fellow at John Innes Centre, Norwich

Katharina Schiessl

I did my master degree in Applied Plant Science with focus on Molecular Plant Breeding at the Universitaet fuer Bodenkultur in Vienna, Austria. During my studies, I spent eight months at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland taking part in the ERASMUS student exchange programme. In addition, I took part in the Erasmus Internship programme for ten months working on Brachypodium distachyon transformation in the BRACHYTAG initiative at John Innes Centre, Norwich.

For my master thesis, I joined the research group of Hermann Buerstmayer who is working on resistance breeding in wheat. The aim of my master project was to identify candidate genes that contribute to resistance of bread wheat to the fungal pathogen Fusarium graminearum at early stage of infection. As this pathogen enters the host via open florets during flowering, transcription profiling was performed on tissue of dissected floral organs. During this project, I got interested in the process of flowering and how floral organs develop.

Hence, joining the group of Robert Sablowski in the Department of Cell Developmental Biology at the John Innes Centre is a great opportunity for me. The group has been working on stem cell maintenance in the apical shoot- and root meristem, on floral organ identity genes, such as AGAMOUS, and on gene regulatory networks leading to organ growth.

The main interest in my PhD project is to understand how regulatory genes direct cell division, cell expansion, and differentiation in a spatial and temporal context leading to outgrowth of lateral organs. In order to address this question, I am going to work on the transcription factor JAGGED that has previously been described to be involved in the regulation of cell division and lateral organ growth.