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About Nyasha Charura and her project

Nyasha obtained her Master’s degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Cologne in 2020. During her studies she participated in the ERASMUS program and spent a semester at the University of Manchester, focusing on climate change and green biotechnology. Additionally, she worked as an intern at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research. In her Master thesis she studied plant-microbe interactions, focusing on the involvement of fungal effector proteins in manipulating plant immunity.

Plants rely on a fine-tuned immune system to detect soil microbes and defense responses have been extensively characterized in a quantitative and qualitative manner, in a number of plant-microbe interactions. However, little is known about the exact spatial localization of defense induction in roots that follows local recognition of microbes. The establishment of Arabidopsis MAMP-marker lines has provided a reliable read-out for MAMP-triggered immunity at cellular level (Zhou et al., 2020). During her PhD thesis, Nyasha will investigate the ability of beneficial fungi like Serendipita indica to subvert plant immunity by potentially suppressing the activation of MAMP-responsive genes. Furthermore, she is interested in analyzing MAMP-responsive genes in the presence of the plant pathogen Bipolaris sorokiniana, alone as well as in confrontation with the mutualist S. indica, as it confers biotic resistance in plants.