Recognizing Plant Physiology authors: Charlotte Gommers

Charlotte Gommers, first author of GENOMES UNCOUPLED1-independent retrograde signaling targets the ethylene pathway to repress photomorphogenesis

Current Position: Assistant Professor in the department of Plant Physiology at Wageningen University & Research

Education: BSc and MSc Biology at Radboud University in Nijmegen (2006 – 2012), PhD Plant Ecophysiology at Utrecht University (2012 – 2016), Postdoc at the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) in Barcelona (2016 – 2019).

Non-scientific Interests: road cycling, hiking, going abroad to see mountains, cooking

Brief bio: During my Bachelor of Biology I first realized that plants are no boring creatures, but are very well aware of their surroundings, adapt to their environment and compete with other plants for resources. And very importantly: I found out that plant biologists do not need to go outside in the (rainy) fields but could thrive in the lab. I was sold.

During my MSc studies, the Dutch national graduate school for Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS) started a new program for motivated students, giving them the opportunity to write and submit a PhD grant proposal. I enrolled and, together with Ronald Pierik at Utrecht University, proposed to tackle the mechanisms behind an alternative for the well-studied shade avoidance syndrome: shade tolerance. The proposal was funded and so my adventure began. I really enjoyed my time in Utrecht and was proud when I saw my work come together in my thesis and a few published manuscripts.

Afterwards, I joined the lab of Elena Monte at CRAG in Barcelona as a postdoc. She had started a new research direction, focusing on the interplay between photoreceptor signaling and chloroplast retrograde signals, and gladly offered me to join her team. The two years I spent in Barcelona were amazing: the lovely city, people, food, climate and mountains were the perfect scenery for the great time I had at CRAG. One of the projects I worked on is now published in Plant Physiology and described how GUN1-independent retrograde signaling targets the ethylene signaling pathway to suppres seedling photomorphogenesis.

During my time at CRAG I learned how inspiring it is to work in a research center where so many plant-enthusiasts are packed together. I am glad I could continue my career in a similarly inspiring environment at the Plant Science Group of Wageningen University. I started my own group in early 2019 as a tenure track assistant professor in the department of Plant Physiology and continue to work on chloroplast signals, photobiology and abiotic stress. More information about me and my lab can be found here: