Our "small molecules" group is focus in the study of molecules with signal properties. To do so, we have been developing/adapting new techniques (e.g. Drug Affinity Responsive Target Stability (DARTS) and Thermal Proteome Profiling (TPP), size exclusion chromatography (SEC), among others) to study protein-metabolite interactions in plants. Our model of study is Arabidopsis thaliana, and we work specifically with cell cultures which allow us to speed up the generation of results as well as data analysis.
Currently, I am interested in two different topics. These topics have in common the tools I am going to use to answer the main question of both topics. The first topic is related with dipeptides and I would like to address the question: Are dipeptides more than residues from protein cleavage?. Dipeptides have been reported as a molecules with signal properties in animals and that is why I would like to study different classes of dipeptides and try to find a function in molecular signaling or any other process in plants. To accomplish this, different approaches such as, size exclusion chromatography, affinity purification and proteomic analysis will be used. Finally, we hope to be able to integrate the results obtained with the different approaches mentioned above and find new functions for dipeptides in plants.
My other point of interest is focused on the Carotenoid pathway and the newly reported function of these compounds as a signal molecules. To study this I have created transgenic plants that over-express a key enzyme of the carotenoid pathway. In this plants, not only carotenoid levels were increased, but also chlorophyll levels, gibberellins (GA) levels and other compounds that allowed the bigger size observed in this lines. My goal is to study/identify the signal(s) that allows the potentiation of three different pathways inside the chloroplast (GA, carotenoids and chlorophylls) and how the better fitness of these lines could be explained at molecular and physiological level.
Work and Research experience
04.08.2016 – now Postdoctoral researcher at Prof. Dr. Lothar Willmitzer group in the “Plant physiology” department at the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology Golm/Potsdam, Germany.
02.10.2012 – 29.07.2016 PhD student at Prof. Dr. Ralph Bock group in the “Organelle Biology and Biotechnology” department at the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Golm/Potsdam, Germany. PhD thesis: “Characterization of the Clp protease complex and identification of putative substrates in N. tabacum”.
24.03.2010 – 23.03.2012 Master student at Dr. Claudia Stange Klein group at the Center of Molecular Plant Biology, Santiago, Chile. Master thesis: “Characterization of Daucus carota lycopene β-cyclase gene (lcyb1) by over-expression in the plant models N. tabacum and D. carota”.
03.03.2009 – 23.03.2010 Undergraduate thesis at Dr. Claudia Stange Klein group at the Center of Molecular Plant Biology, Santiago, Chile. Undergraduate thesis: “Evaluation of the Functionality of Carrot Lycopene b-cyclase Genes by Means of Heterologous Complementation in E. coli”.
03.01.2008 – 26.02.2009 Undergraduate research project at Dr. Claudia Stange Klein group at the Center of Molecular Plant Biology, Santiago, Chile. Undergraduate research project: “Development of Molecular Tools for the Over-expression of lcyb Gene in Fruits”.
04.03.2005 – 29.06.2005 Undergraduate research project at Dr. Patricio Moreno Moncada group at the “Biology” department, Santiago, Chile. Undergraduate research project: “Pollen Analysis Through Microscopic Techniques”.
*: Equal contribution/shared first author.