Alicia Abarca: Plant Physiology First Author

Alicia Abarca, first author of “Family-wide evaluation of RAPID ALKALINIZATION FACTOR peptides”

Current position: PhD student at University of Zürich, Switzerland

Education: Wageningen University (The Netherlands) MSc Biotechnology, University of Granada (Spain), Bachelor in Biology

Non-scientific interests: sports, piano playing and board games are my main passions outside science

Brief info:

My favourite colour has always been green. For me, green means fresh, free and, foremost, nature. And, I have been lucky enough to grow up in the wonderful tropical coast of Spain surrounded by avocado, mango and chirimoya trees thanks to the special climate we have there. Biology was always my favourite subject, but, definitely, my interest in plant science arose thanks to Prof. Jose María Ramos in the course “Plant physiology” during my Bachelor studies at the University of Granada. Later on, during my Masters degree at Wageningen University, I attended a captivating lecture by Prof. Jan van Kan on plant-pathogen interactions, and it made me realize how fascinated I was by the evolutionary arms race between plants and their pathogens. Because of this, I did my Master project with Prof. Jan van Kan under the supervision of Javier Veloso, and I spent six wonderful months studying the interesting pathogen Botrytis cinerea. After that, I decided to do an internship at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich under the supervision of Prof. Cyril Zipfel working on the identification of immune receptors in Solanaceae plants. In 2018, the lab moved to the University of Zurich, and I started there my PhD on the study of a fascinating family of plant hormones using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. We are very excited to continue studying this family of proteins, and our next step is to identify which of these proteins play a role in the immune system of A. thaliana.  The more I know about plants, the more I like the green colour!