Recognizing Plant Cell authors: Keylla Bicalho

Keylla Bicalho, co-first author of A Seed-Specific Regulator of Triterpene Saponin Biosynthesis in Medicago truncatula

Current Position: Postdoctoral researcher at Metabolomics Core – VIB/UGent, Gent, Belgium

Education: PhD and MSc in Organic Chemistry – Natural Products at Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil and B.S. in Chemistry at Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil

Non-scientific Interests: travelling, music, and dancing

Brief bio: My passion for the production and analysis of secondary metabolites started during my undergraduate study when I was involved in the synthesis and analysis of potential agrochemicals produced by fungi. During my master’s and my PhD, I worked with plant based secondary metabolites to discover novel compounds for biotechnological and medicinal applications. During this time, I improved my knowledge and experience with analytical and spectroscopic techniques such as LCMS, GCMS and NMR, and also, a wide range of different natural compounds such as triterpenes, acetogenins, lignans and alkaloids. Later, I was granted with a postdoctoral fellowship to unravel the biosynthetic pathway of quinonemethide triterpenes in a collaboration between State University of São Paulo (Brazil) and VIB/UGent (Belgium) which allowed me to work and learn new scientific fields such as molecular and synthetic biology and microbiology. After that, I joined the Metabolomics Core – VIB/UGent to work alongside the research groups of the institute providing the chemical analysis necessary to answer the questions resulted from their scientific researches. I am passionate about applying chemical investigation in an interdisciplinary way, the technological advance of the chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques and metabolomics data analysis.