This is the report from a BSPP Incoming Fellowship.
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Associate Professor Birsen Cevher Keskin, TUBITAK Marmara Research Centre, spent two months this summer (July and August) in my laboratory to work on plant-downy mildew interactions.
Prof Keskin has been working on ‘omics’ technologies to reveal signalling networks triggered by biotic and abiotic stress inducers, and endomembrane trafficking. Recently, she has been using genomic and transcriptomic analysis to investigate epigenetic regulation and trancriptome profiling in drought and cold stress in olive and sunflower, and to determine biotic stress related genes in olive leaf scab, also known as peacock spot disease, caused by Venturia oleaginea.
Prof Keskin used her time very efficiently in my group, spending time with individual members to discuss their projects, show them how to isolate RNA from small spore samples and how to set up MinION for sequencing bacterial or oomycete genomes. She also demonstrated the use of bioinformatic tools such as Galaxy for genome assembly and differential gene expression.
During this period, she also worked on pea and Arabidopsis downy mildews with the group and learned the methodologies including preparation of spore suspensions, performing inoculations, assessment of sporulation, and treatment of downy mildew spores with small RNAs.
Impressively, Prof Keskin also managed to write a grant proposal on ‘Grapevine-downy mildew pathosystem: R-genes, metagenome and microbial biocontrol’ in collaboration with The Viticulture Research Institute, Tekirdag, Turkey, which will also extend my collaborative research. In addition, she worked on the draft of her manuscript based on her previous research, ‘The discovery of drought responsive genes by de novo assembly of Modern Bread Wheat’.
I am grateful to the BSPP for providing funds for this incoming fellowship. This support has enabled me to accommodate a talented researcher in my group, giving an opportunity to my team members to meet and discuss their research with a scientist, as well as initiating new collaborations with colleagues.
University of Worcester