Clara Sanchez-Rodriguez incorporates to CBGP from ETH Zurich with a prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant. Her research goal is to increase plant resilience to adverse environmental conditions.
Clara Sanchez-Rodriguez new research group “Cell Biology of Plant Resilience” aims to understand the molecular mechanisms determining crop survival and productivity under environmental stresses. Her group uses cellular perspective approaches focusing and on the external cell layers: apoplast, cell wall, plasma membrane, and cortex. To study this topic, researchers at her group will combine last generation confocal microscopy technologies, proteomics, biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics. The group is particularly interested on plant resilience determined by root factors in response to biotic and abiotic stresses. Her current research line focuses on understanding function of the plant cell wall in response to vascular fungi that colonize plants through their roots, as Fusarium oxysporum. In the next few years, Clara´s group wants to advance the functional understanding of these processes, as well as to increase plant tolerance to root stress.
Clara earned her PhD at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) and did a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology at Postdam, Germany. In 2015 she joined ETH Zurich (Switzerland) as an Assistant Professor, where she led an inter-disciplinary team working on the frontiers of biotic stress knowledge. From February 2023, Dr Sanchez-Rodríguez moved her group to CBGP, after getting financing support for her project DYNWALL from the prestigious grant ERC-Consolidator, in a highly competitive program of scientific excellence. This project has associated a singular infrastructure, namely a confocal spinning-disc microscope with a light diffraction correction hardware, that is currently in operation at the CBGP. This exceptional equipment allows in vivo visualization at the highest temporal resolution of highly dynamic processes (series xyzt) and imaging of lowly expressed proteins for minutes. The microscope includes a vertical sample holder that allows maintaining plant photo- and gravitropism.
The CBGP (UPM, INIA/CSIC) is a Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence that belongs to the network of Severo Ochoa Centers and María de Maeztu Units of Excellence (SOMMa). The CBGP is internationally positioned as one of the most advanced reference centers in the area of agriculture and plant biotechnology. The mission of the CBGP (UPM-INIA/CSIC) is to carry out fundamental and strategic research within the field of plant biology and microorganisms that interact with plants. The research carried out by the different groups of the Centre is aimed at understanding, from a multidisciplinary point of view, essential processes such as the development of plants, their interaction with the environment and the molecular mechanisms that regulate plant nutrition. Likewise, the CBGP (UPM-INIA/CSIC) develops new tools for computational biology and genomics to achieve these objectives. The acquisition of basic biological knowledge is essential to combat the challenges facing agricultural and forestry production and should contribute to the development of new biotechnological solutions. The CBGP (UPM-INIA/CSIC) also plays a relevant role as an educational institution, being a reference centre for the training of young scientists and Master's and Degree students in the areas of Plant Biotechnology and Genomics.