María Luz Annacondia López: Plant Physiology First Author

María Luz Annacondia López, co-first author of “Parasitic plant small RNA analyses unveil parasite-specific signatures of microRNA retention, loss, and gain”

Current Position: Postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen (Denmark)

Education: PhD in Biology from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Sweden), MSc and BSc from the University of Oviedo (Spain)

Non-scientific Interests: training and cooking

Brief bio: I have always been fascinating by the complexity of how plants modulate their gene expression, especially during stressful situations. During my both my BSc and MSc thesis, I explored how Pinus radiata modulate its molecular response to UV stress, under the supervision of Prof. María Jesús Cañal at the University of Oviedo.

Then, I joined the group of Dr. Germán Martínez at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. During my PhD, I focused on better understanding the epigenetic changes and the implication of RNA silencing during biotic stress in Arabidopsis thaliana. Particularly, we studied two biotic stresses of high economic and ecological importance, aphid infestation and Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) infection. Recently, I joined the group of Prof. Sebastian Marquardt at the University of Copenhagen, where I am currently studying novel aspects of the plant non-coding genome.

In this work, we characterize the small RNA (sRNA) population of two species of parasitic plants, Cuscuta campestris and Orobanche aegyptiaca and we showed how the parasitic lifestyle of these plants impacted their sRNA population.