Patricia Ballester Fuentes: The Plant Cell First Author

Patricia Ballester Fuentes, first author of “A transcriptional complex of NGATHA and bHLH transcription factors directs stigma development in Arabidopsis”

Current position: Postdoctoral researcher at IBMCP (CSIC-UPV, Valencia-Spain).

Education: PhD in Biotechnology, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain; MSc in Plant Molecular and Cellular Biotechnology, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain; BSc in Biology, University of Valencia, Spain.

Non-scientific interests:  Spending time with my family and friends, listening to music, enjoying live concerts, dancing, swimming at the sea, enjoying the sunny beaches of my hometown and practice snorkelling.

Brief bio: My fascination with plants started when I was a child. Helping my grandparents growing their own vegetables and tending their fields was one of the hobbies of summer holidays. It was no surprise when I decided to study my BSc in Biology to learn more about Plant Biology. During this period, I had the opportunity to work in the Plant Biology Department and in the Genomics Department at the Valencia Institute of Agricultural Research (IVIA). As I had been always centered on plant biotechnology and genetics, when I finished the BSc, I got my MSc in Plant Molecular and Cellular Biotechnology at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. This  led me to start a PhD in Plant Developmental Genetics, under the supervision of Cristina Ferrándiz. During my thesis I was focused in identifying factors involved in the development of Arabidopsis pistil. Specifically, I have worked with the NGATHA genes, mainly in two topics: identification of transcription factors involved in the regulation of the NGATHA genes; and the study of the interaction of these factors with members of the bHLH transcription factors family to direct the development of the apical tissues in the Arabidopsis thaliana gynoecium. After I got my PhD, I did a short postdoctoral work at the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf, after which I decided to take a career break to spend time with my family and now, I came back to work in Cristina Ferrándiz’s  lab into a new project where we want to identify the molecular mechanisms controlling the global proliferative arrest in different species.