Molecular mechanisms underlying growth and defense in plants

Molecular mechanisms underlying growth and defense in plants

Internship Description

When attacked by pathogens, plants allocate their energy and resources into defense responses at the expense of growth. Hence, understanding the mechanisms by which plants prioritize their responses is instrumental for improving plant defense and growth and consequently increasing crop yield. Recently, we have established a link between the defense hormone Jasmonic Acid (JA) and a transcription factor pathway with key roles in development. We have found that the developmental regulators BIRD proteins mediate Jasmonic acid defense response through interacting with core JA signaling pathway genes. The project aims to dissect the molecular framework underlying the dual function of these protein complexes. The identified signaling networks and pathways can then be rewired to allow simultaneous growth and defense. we will use the following tools: RNAseq, genome editing tools, fluorescence microscopy imaging amd a range methods for detecting protein-protein interactions in vitro and in vivo.


The gained knowledge will be used to generate resistant crops with optimal growth behavior using genome editing tools.​

Faculty Name

Ikram Blilou

Field of Study

Developmental biology, cell biology