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My Research


My research project is focused on exploring the high level of conservation of two Histone Acetyl Transferases (HATs) across plant lineages in an effort to engineer high performing tomato, potato and maize plants with increased resistance to pathogens, yet minimal impact upon growth. Two main lines of research are considered; gene editing of the HATs using CRISPR technology in B.oleracea and developing chemical inhibitors of the enzyme for foliar applications.

Currently, I am working on several T-DNA insertion lines with a downregulation or knock-out of one or both enzymes at the transcriptional level, in order to characterize their role in Arabidopsis growth and defense. For that purpose, I am analysing gene expression, plant development and the response to the effector trigger immunity (ETI) by different techniques such as qPCR, leaf area measurements, bacterial growth or ion leakage. The aim is to determine whether the down-regulation or absence of one or both enzymes would decrease the growth-defence trade-off in plants.

Furthermore, after identifying the homolog genes of our HATs of interest in B.oleracea, we are designing point mutations to be engineered by CRISPR-Cas9 in collaboration with the John Innes Centre (JIC).


Funding bodies

Main Supervisor:

Dr. Vardis Ntoukakis

+44 (0)24 76 151920

V dot Ntoukakis at warwick dot ac dot uk


Dra. Selena Giménez-Ibáñez

selena dot gimenez at cnb dot csic dot es