The research program of the consortium running under the acronym OPTISOL was awarded with a €1 million funding for a period of 36 month in the framework of the INSPIRE program launched by REPSOL and the UPM.
Four investigators of the Center of Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (CBGP) from the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) research group ‘Regulatory networks in plant development and plant stress responses’ have received a €1 million research grant from the INSPIRE program launched by REPSOL and the UPM to foster innovative and ambitious approaches in the sector of bio-/energy to tackle energy and environmental challenges that menace society. The project, led by the investigators Dr. Stephan Pollmann, Dr. Julia Kehr, Dr. Jesús Vicente Carbajosa, and Dr. Joaquín Medina Alcazár, will run over a period of 36 month. OPTISOL’s purpose is to improve glucose extractability from Solanaceae canopy while preserving tuber and fruit quality and quantity, respectively.
Dr. Pollmann, who has recently been awarded with a Marie Curie career integration grant from the European Commission, and Dr. Kehr, who recently allocated her laboratory to Germany after receiving an appointment for a full professorship at the University of Hamburg, will use their strong plant biochemical and analytical background to develop a mass spectrometry-based high-throughput platform to analyze major plant cell wall traits related with the exploitation of lignocellulosic plant matter. The analytical platform will provide the basis to quantitatively assess the impact of genetic modifications introduced in the second work package of the project that is led by two internationally renowned investigators, Dr. Vicente Carbajosa and Dr. Medina Alcazár, who are also members in a Europe spanning Marie Curie ITN network fostered by the European Commission. The two latter scientists share strong expertise in plant molecular biology and genetics, which will be used to take a systematic approach to improve cell wall traits towards optimized glucose extractability.
Workflows in the project are coordinated by Stephan Pollmann, Assistant Professor at the Center for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics of the Technical University of Madrid. He obtained his diploma and PhD degree from the Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany, where he also obtained his venia legendi in the discipline of Botany in 2009. During his time in Bochum and his stay as a Visiting Professor at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, he gained international recognition as a leader in the field of plant hormone analytics and auxin biosynthesis. Awarded with a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant, he was involved in the establishment of a fully equipped metabolomics laboratory at the Center for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics that he currently leads, alongside to his original research group working in the field of auxin biosynthesis and plant hormone crosstalk.