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Maria A. Nohales

Maria A. Nohales




Affiliation: Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (IBMCP). CSIC / Universidad Politécnica de València

Fields or areas of research Plant biology, Circadian clock, Light signaling, Molecular networks, Crop improvement

I obtained my BSc degree in Biology from the University of Valencia (UV) in 2004, after which I joined Dr. Carrasco's laboratory at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (UV) as a Master thesis student. Under his and Dr. Ferrando's supervision, I studied the hypusination of the eIF5A translation factor as a molecular tool to quantify and modulate cellular damage induced by abiotic stress in plants (Belda-Palazon et al., Front Plant Sci 2014).

In 2006, shortly after obtaining my MSc degree, I was awarded an FPI fellowship to join Prof. Flores' and Prof. Daros' laboratory at the IBMCP (CSIC/UPV) to pursue a PhD degree in Biotechnology. My research focused on plant-pathogen interactions, more specifically, viroid-host interactions in eggplant and tomato. My PhD research led to several important discoveries, among which the identification of the host enzymes involved in viroid ligation, a crucial step in viroid replication, is especially relevant (Eiras et al. Arch Virol 2010; Molina-Serrano et al. RNA Biol 2012; Nohales et al. PNAS 2012; Nohales et al. J Virol 2012). Given the agronomical impact of viroids, my findings provide valuable knowledge for the development of biotechnological tools to control them.
After my PhD, I decided to join Prof. Steve Kay's laboratory at UCSD (La Jolla, USA) for a postdoctoral stay. Dr. Kay's laboratory has been leader in the study of plant circadian rhythms and their impact on relevant crop traits such as growth and flowering time. During my time in Dr. Kay's lab, I developed several techniques and projects, which ranged from clock architecture and tissue-specificity (Endo et al. Nature 2014) to clock-mediated regulation of growth. My main focus has been on the clock component GIGANTEA (GI), and how it regulates plant physiology in resonance with the environment. My work has uncovered a pivotal role of GI as an important modulator of multiple physiological and developmental processes in plants, including photoperiodic growth (Nohales et al. Dev Cell 2019; Nohales & Kay PNAS 2019).

I have recently joined the IBMCP as a Marie Curie reintegration fellow and in June 2021 I will start my new position as Junior PI in the framework of the "Convocatoria de subvenciones para la contratación de investigadoras e investigadores doctores de excelencia para desarrollar un proyecto de I+D+i en la Comunidad Valenciana (Plan GenT - CIDEGENT 2020)" call. As such, I will develop my own research group where we will focus on understanding how the plant circadian clock incorporates environmental information and how it intersects with different signaling pathways to orchestrate plant physiology and development. The ultimate goal will be to leverage this information towards the improvement of crop yield and performance in the field.

People associated with the project as technical support staff: 1