Recognizing Plant Cell first authors: Ward Decaestecker

Ward Decaestecker, co-first author of CRISPR-TSKO: A Technique for Efficient Mutagenesis in Specific Cell Types, Tissues, or Organs in Arabidopsis

Current Position: PhD student in the group of Dr. Thomas Jacobs, VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

Education: BSc and MSc in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at KU Leuven, Belgium

Non-scientific Interests: playing football

Brief bio: I obtained my Master degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from the University of Leuven in 2011. After my studies, I started working as a lab technician in the Plant Transformation Group at CropDesign (BASF Plant Science). I was performing plant transformation in different crops and gradually got more involved in tissue culture mutagenesis and genome editing projects. From there, my interest in genome editing sprouted and lead me eventually toward a PhD on plant genome editing in the newly established group of Dr. Thomas Jacobs at the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology. As the first PhD student, I really enjoyed starting from scratch and struggling with the child diseases of the technology. My current work involves developing CRISPR technologies, like CRISPR-TSKO, for our department and the broader field, and to come up with ways to improve homology-directed repair of CRISPR-induced breaks.