Recognizing Plant Physiology first authors: Vanessa Loiacono

Vanessa Loiacono, first author of Establishment of a Heterologous RNA Editing Event in Chloroplasts

Current Position: Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University – Ithaca, NY

Education: B.Sc. Biological Sciences, University of Bari – Italy; M.Sc. Horticultural Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences “BOKU” – Vienna, Austria / Humboldt University of Berlin – Germany; Ph.D. Plant Molecular Biology, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology – Potsdam, Germany

Non-scientific Interests: going to concerts, playing pool, drinking fancy gin & tonics

Brief bio: I studied Biology at the University of Bari, in my hometown in the south of Italy. After a summer internship in the group of Astrid Forneck in the Division of Viticulture and Pomology at BOKU – Vienna, I was offered a position as a lab technician in the same group and moved to Vienna, while secretly commuting to Italy to finish my B.Sc. While working as a lab tech in the Forneck lab, I started a M.Sc. in Horticultural Sciences, as part of a shared program between Vienna (BOKU) and Berlin (Humboldt University), despite my known very poor skills in house-plant care (I once watered a plastic plant). At Humboldt, I had the extreme fortune of meeting Thomas Börner, who became the mentor of my M.Sc. thesis on 3’ and 5’ processing of plant mitochondrial coding and non-coding RNAs. Since then, my interest has been to understand gene expression in plant mitochondria and plastids and the role of nuclear-encoded RNA binding proteins. During my Ph.D., I studied PPR proteins and chloroplast RNA editing in the group of Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam – Germany. I am currently a post-doc in Maureen Hanson’s lab at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). In 2019, I was the co-chair of the Gordon Research Seminar in Chloroplast Biotechnology (Ventura, CA).