Travel Grant Oscar M. Rollano-Peñaloza
Read about Oscar's travel grant.
I´m a PhD student from the Biology Department at Lund University. My project involves working with an oomycete plant pathogen (Peronospora variabilis) that cannot be isolated on petri dishes (obligate parasite). Plant pathogens like P. variabilis are very hard to study, cannot be shipped and for food security reasons should not be transported. One of the most studied oomycete plant pathogens is Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis. Only a few labs in the world have the permits to work with this microorganism and one of these labs is the Eulgem lab at the University of California, Riverside in the United States. Therefore, we thought that the best way to learn about these organisms and solve some problems we had would be to learn from a well-established lab on plant-pathogen interactions. Further, given that this group has only worked with model plants in the past, they also got interested in applying their knowledge in our study crop (quinoa).
The modern infrastructure at the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology at UCR and the huge shared space for labs and also for offices were altogether very inspiring. Learning how the University of California works from the inside and the highly competitive atmosphere was very enriching, and helped me to develop personally and professionally to a great extent. I learnt a lot about H. arabidopsidis biology and the common practices to study it at genomic level during plant-pathogen interactions. Now, I can apply very much of the knowledge I gain at UCR and study these plant pathogens to a greater detail.
In conclusion, thanks to the GENECO travel grants I acquired plenty of tools to study obligate parasite plant pathogens at genomic level. Further, we manage to establish a nice relation and even a collaboration with the Eulgem lab at UCR. Thus, I encourage all my fellow PhD students to apply for a grant.