Recognizing Plant Physiology authors: Najla Ksouri

Najla Ksouri, first author of Tuning promoter boundaries improves regulatory motif discovery in non-model plants: the peach example

Current position: PhD candidate at the University of Zaragoza, Spain

Education: Engineer degree in Agronomy, Tunisia & Master of Science in Plant Breeding, Zaragoza, Spain

Non-scientific interests: cooking, sports

Brief bio: During my Master’s degree in The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza, (CIHEAM-IAMZ), I realized the importance of bioinformatics in today’s plant breeding. Being eager to learn more about this discipline, I conducted my Master’s thesis about “Transcriptional responses of peach (Prunus persica) under drought stress using RNA sequencing” under the supervision of Dr. Yolanda Gogorcena and Dr. Bruno Contreras-Moreira. For me, this was a fruitful experience as I developed many skills in R programming, RNA-seq analysis and gene expression profiling. With the guidance of my supervisors, we published a peer-reviewed paper and I was awarded with the Prize for the Best CIHEAM Master thesis (

Fascinated with computational genomics, am currently pursuing my PhD at the Spanish National Research Council (EEAD-CSIC, Zaragoza) along the same lines. The main goal of my research is centered in the development and the application of computational approaches to facilitate the breeder´s goals by deciphering the complex transcriptional regulation in peach and identifying molecular makers associated with traits of interest.