Dr. Janaki R.R. Alavalapati, Dean
School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences
3301 Forestry and Wildlife Building
602 Duncan Drive
Auburn, Alabama 36849-3418
Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Fall Seminar Series Presents:
Luis O Morales, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, will give a talk titled, Unraveling Molecular and Physiological Mechanisms Mediating Stress Acclimation in Plants.
Seminar is held at 11 a.m. in Conference Room 1101 in the SFWS Building, 602 Duncan Drive, Auburn, AL.
Abstract: Improving agricultural productivity to feed a growing world population is a grand challenge that will require a better understanding of the complex interactions between plants and their environment. Plants are constantly challenged by unfavorable conditions that limit their optimal growth and survival. During this talk I will address molecular and physiological events mediating stress acclimation in plants, especially those related to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and ozone (O3). Using reverse genetics, transcriptome and physiological analysis, we showed that wavelengths in the UV-B (280-315 nm) and UV-A/blue (315-500 nm) regions of the spectrum perceived by UV RESISTANCE LOCUS 8 (UVR8) and cryptochromes (CRY1 and CRY2) promote a range of responses essential for plant acclimation. This includes transcript accumulation of genes involved in photoprotective pathways, the accumulation of stress related hormones and phenolic compounds. Using O3 as an experimental tool to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the apoplast of plant cells, we have assessed key roles for ROS in mediating defense signaling in Arabidopsis thaliana. Furthermore, we have identified small RNAs as post-transcriptional regulators of ROS-mediated cell death and gene expression.
Biography: Luis O Morales, born in Pinar del Río, Cuba, is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University. He holds degrees from the University of Pinar del Río (MSc in Agricultural Engineering, 1996), the University of Havana (MSc, Plant Biotechnology, 2004) and the University of Helsinki (PhD, Plant Biology, 2014). In previous postdoctoral research at the University of Helsinki, Dr. Morales combined plant genomics, physiology, molecular biology, bioinformatics and statistics to examine the effects of abiotic stresses on plants at various molecular levels. In his current research at NCSU, Luis aims to combine his expertise in photobiology and plant biochemistry to improve phytochemical contents in important crop species. To date, he has published 14 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, delivered a range of invited lectures and organized a symposium on Molecular aspects of UV-B photoprotections at the 16th Congress of the European Society of Photobiology, Aveiro, Portugal 2015. In addition, he has taught plant physiology to undergraduates at the University of Pinar del Río for three years, as well as designed and delivered practical courses on the analysis of gene expression data to graduate students at the University of Helsinki. Dr. Morales is also very passionate about promoting plant science to society in general.