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Dr Vardis Ntoukakis



Associate Professor


Life Sciences
University of Warwick
Tel: +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

Research Projects

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