Recognizing Plant Physiology first authors: Antonella Locascio

Antonella Locascio, first author of BCL2-ASSOCIATED ATHANOGENE4 Regulates the KAT1 Potassium Channel and Controls Stomatal Movement

Current Position: Post-doctoral researcher at the Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas-UPV-CSIC  (Polytechnic University of Valencia-Spanish Research Council, Spain)

Education: PhD in Plant Biotechnology in the group of Prof. Serena Varotto at the Dept of Environmental agronomy and crop science, University of Padova (Italy), BSc in Biotechnology at the University of Padova

Non-scientific Interests: I usually spend my free time with family and friends. I enjoy travelling and exploring new places and different environments. I practice strong Zumba and cardio-fitness activities.

Brief bio: Since I was very young, I’ve always been interested in understanding how living organisms work from the inside. With this objective in mind, my interest for genetics and molecular biology increased over the years. After I got my bachelor’s degree in Plant Biotechnology, I pursued my PhD at the S. Varotto lab at the University of Padova (Italy), where I was engaged in the study of the molecular mechanisms controlling flowering time in a cultivated plant (chicory), of important agronomic interest in the north of Italy. My studies showed for the first time how flowering is regulated by vernalization in chicory. I also cloned one of the key genes controlling this process (FLC) and studied its regulation.

To continue my scientific training, I did a post-doctoral stay in the Blazquez lab at the IBMCP-UPV (Valencia, Spain. EMBO-fellowship). After the fellowship, I joined the group for the following 4 years and engaged in the studies related to how plants integrate light, temperature and hormonal signaling to coordinate their growth. My research endeavors in this area gave rise to several publications. After this post-doctoral fellowship, I moved to a biotechnology company. During that time, I coordinated the investigation of my research team, focused on clinical assays, efficacy tests and molecular signaling studies on human cells. Enriched by this experience, I moved back to academic research, joining the Yenush group (UPV, Valencia, Spain) in 2017. Since then, I enjoy unravelling the molecular mechanisms controlling plant potassium channels. Our current contribution identifies a novel regulator of the KAT1 channel, BAG4.