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Professor Vardis Ntoukakis

Job Title
Life Sciences
+44 (0)2476 151920
Research Interests

Our main scientific interest lies in the field of plant-microbe interactions. We are in particularly interested in understanding how pathogen perception leads to reprogramming of gene expression. Through evolution plants have evolved two strategies of pathogen perception, extracellular recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) by trans-membrane pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) and intracellular recognition of effectors by multi-domain resistance (R) proteins. Despite our understanding of how plants perceive pathogens, little is known about the downstream responses leading to reprogramming of gene expression.

Upon pathogen perception, plant cells are faced with the challenge to reallocate their limited resources and quickly change their state of gene transcription with the minimum cost on other biological processes. Chromatin remodelling is now recognized as a major mechanism controlling gene expression and a point of cross talk between different pathways. Chromatin remodelling requires histone covalent modifications and/or the action of ATP-dependent remodelling complexes.

We use the model pathosystem consisting of the host Arabidopsis thaliana and the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae in combination with genome-wide approaches such as mRNA-seq and ChIP-seq, confocal microscopy and biochemistry to identify how pathogen perception leads to chromatin remodelling that ultimately controls gene expression. An understanding of how chromatin remodelling regulates plant immune responses will be an important step towards engineering plants with durable resistance and increased crop yields.


Royal Society University Research


Assistant Professor, Royal Society Research Fellow, School of Life Sciences, Warwick, 2012-present.

Post-doctoral researcher, Deciphering the Phospho-code of EFR, FLS2 and BAK1, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, 2011-2012.

Post-doctoral researcher, Chromatin organization in Arabidopsis root epidermal development, John Innes Centre, Norwich, 2009-2011.

Post-doctoral researcher, Characterization of the mechanism of AvrPto and AvrPtoB recognition by the tomato Prf/Pto resistance complex, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, 2005-2008.

PhD Biochemistry, Department of Botany and Sciences, University of California Riverside, US, 1999-2005.

Researcher, Institute of Subtropical Plants and Olive Tree, Chania, Greece, 1997-1999

Diploma, School of Agriculture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, 1991-1996

Title Funder Award start Award end
Nucleoside counter-decoys; metabolic interference in plant defence BBSRC 02 Jan 2022 01 Jan 2025
Xanthomonas plant diseases: mitigating existing, emerging and future threats to UK agriculture BBSRC 01 Oct 2020 31 Jan 2024
Phospho-proteomic Analysis of Microbe-Associated Molecular Patterns (MAMPs) Signalling in Plant Immunity - A small MLSRF grant Medical and Life Sciences Research Fund 01 May 2021 30 Apr 2022
WISB extension Oct 21 - March 22 BBSRC 01 Oct 2021 31 Mar 2022
Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre (WISB) extension - related to 46082 BBSRC 01 Apr 2020 31 Mar 2022
Engineering synthetic 14-3-3 proteins to achieve broad-spectrum disease resistance in plants Royal Society Newton Advanced Fellowship Alberto Macho Royal Society 30 Dec 2018 29 Dec 2021
Role of chromatin remodelling in Plant-Microbe interactions (Covid-19 Supplement to URF UF160546 costed under 55719 and renewal 52643) Royal Society 01 Oct 2020 30 Sep 2021
Ion mobility mass spectrometer for proteomics facility. ALERT19 BBSRC 01 Jul 2020 30 Jun 2021
Research Fellows Enhancement Award 2017 - Improvement of multiple agronomic traits by impediment of a histone acetyltransferase Royal Society 01 Dec 2017 31 Mar 2021
University Research Fellowship 2017 Renewal - Role of chromatin remodelling in Plant-Microbe interactions Royal Society 01 Oct 2017 30 Sep 2020
Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre (WISB) BBSRC 14 Nov 2014 31 May 2020
Enhancing food security in Ethiopia by breeding enset plants resistant to Xanthomonas Wilt Royal Society 04 Dec 2017 31 Jul 2019
Royal Society Fellowship - Role of chromatin in plant microbe interactions Royal Society 01 Oct 2012 30 Sep 2017
Royal Society Research Fellowship: Role of chromatin remodelling in plant microbe interactions Royal Society 01 Oct 2012 30 Sep 2017
Vacation Studentship for Breagha Magill - The role of truncated R proteins in plant-pathogen interactions British Society for Plant Pathology 19 Jun 2017 18 Aug 2017
Molecular mechanism regulating MAPKs activation within resistance complexes BBSRC 01 Jul 2014 30 Jun 2017
Regulation of polar growth in plant roots: the interplay of signalling and vesicle trafficking Medical and Life Sciences Research Fund 01 Aug 2015 31 Jul 2016
Study of defense mechanisms in Arachis hypogea against its major pests; British Council: Newton Bhabha PhD Placement Programme award - Pratyusha Sambangi British Council 01 Apr 2015 29 Feb 2016
Developing interdisciplinary omics tools for organelle and cell type-specific analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana New Phytologist Trust 01 Sep 2014 30 Sep 2014