Cold acclimation allows certain plants to increase their cold tolerance cold upon exposure to low non-freezing temperatures. Improving cold tolerance of crop plants is of great importance as frost damage annually amounts to about 14 billion Euro worldwide. The 'high-yield' crops produced during the 'green revolution' were results of altering transcription factor (TF) activities. Biotechnological approaches aimed at altering TF activities presents an attractable solution for improving complex traits such as cold tolerance, yield, pest resistance, bio-flavour, and nutritional qualities.
The group of Prof. MF Thomashow at Michigan State University (MSU) represents the world-leading centre for plant cold acclimation. My objectives are to learn the-state-of-the-art techniques within micro-array analysis, data mining and bioinformatics, DNA-protein and protein-protein interaction screens. I intend to improve my managerial competences in specific programs designed by the MSU HR. Almost 1000 genes are co-ordinately regulated in response to cold.
The project will focus on one group of co-ordinately regulated cold-responsive genes, a regulon. Expression levels of regulon-specific cold-responsive TFs will be altered in planta for plant cold tolerance and transcriptome analyzes. DNA-protein and protein-protein screens will be used to identify regulatory components that are not transcriptionally controlled. The state-of-the-art techniques acquired during the outgoing phase will be implemented at the reintegration institution i n a directed mutant screen that I have setup. Furthermore, this expertise will be implemented at the MSU for mutual benefit and for establishing long-term collaborations.
The mobility of the current project provides unique possibilities for acquiring emergent new technologies and for improving my managerial and leadership competences. It will help me develop independence as a researcher and to found my own pioneering group.
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