Recognizing Plant Cell first authors: Jacinta Watkins

Jacinta Watkins, first author of A GDSL esterase/lipase catalyzes the esterification of lutein in bread wheat

Current Position: PhD candidate, Pogson lab, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, Research School of Biology, Australian National University

Education: BSc (honours) in plant sciences at the Australian National University and BSc in genetics and molecular biology at Monash University

Non-scientific Interests: travel, camping, snorkelling, pole dancing

Brief bio: I have always been interested in the diverse range of chemical products that plants produce and how they can be beneficial for people. I was first introduced into the world of plant science during my undergraduate studies at Monash University. I then moved to the Australian National University to complete my honours year in Barry Pogson’s lab. This project was where I first encountered carotenoids, being part of a research team which investigated how intermediates of the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway affect plant development. I then worked as a research assistant at the CSIRO on several projects involved in carbon allocation and berry flavonoid composition of grape vines and the salinity tolerance of rootstocks. In mid-2015 I returned to ANU and Barry’s lab to begin my PhD, again working on carotenoids. This time however I investigated the molecular mechanisms controlling the esterification of carotenoids with fatty acids in cereals.