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Molecular Stress PhysiologyThis department focuses on the analysis of the physiological and metabolic responses of crops to abiotic stress and how the knowledge gained from these studies can be employed to enhance the tolerance of such crops to stressful conditions. Translational approaches (from model species to crops, from crop to crop) will form a constitutional basis of the research conducted by the group.
Department leader: Assoc. Prof. Dr. T. Gechev.
Plant Cell BiotechnologyPlant in vitro technologies are considered as an attractive and cost-effective alternative to classical approaches (i.e., natural harvest and chemical synthesis) for the mass production of value-added plant-derived metabolites (“green factories” concept). Genetic modification in such a contained system can readily be applied without the regulatory barriers associated with field grown crops. Moreover, cell/tissue culture systems can be up-scaled in bioreactors with controllable bioproduction rates. The department will closely interact with Departments 1, 2, 4 and 6 towards better understanding of plant biochemical machinery and development of new means for sustainable bioproduction of high value molecules.
Department leader: Assoc. Prof. Dr. M. Georgiev.
Plant DevelopmentAdverse environmental conditions not only affect the plant´s physiology, but also have a strong impact on growth and development. The department will focus on studying the effect of adverse environmental conditions (in particular drought) on the development of vegetable crops (e.g., tomato). The department will have a strong emphasis on the role of transcription factors and their gene regulatory networks to unravel the crosstalk between developmental, hormonal and stress-related signalling pathways. Translational research that considers already existing knowledge from model species will be of core relevance.
Department leader: Prof. Dr. B. Mueller-Roeber.
Vegetable BreedingValuable vegetable germplasm will be assessed for resistance to biotic and abiotic stress factors under controlled conditions at Maritsa MVCRI as well as by joint selection with farmers under target environment. Genetic investigations on host resistance will be carried out in order to establish the type of resistance, mode of its inheritance and stabilization in progenies. Breeding lines, F1 hybrids and direct varieties with valuable traits will be created based on conventional and progressive biotechnological methods as marker assisted selection, etc. Joint research programs are envisaged with other departments of the CPSBB, mainly Departments 1,3,6,7, 8.
Department leader: Assoc. Prof. Dr. D. Kostova.
Bioinformatics and Mathematical ModellingBioinformatics and more generally mathematical modelling represent key activities in genomics and systems biology-oriented research and are key to all experimental departments in the CPSBB. This department will provide support to the experimental departments at CPSBB in all major aspects related to the analysis of “omics” data sets (including e.g. next generation sequencing data from e.g. RNA-seq, ChIP-seq or whole-genome sequencing; primary and secondary metabolite profile data, and others).
Department leader: Prof. Dr. Z. Nikoloski.
Plant MetabolomicsMetabolites play a central role not only for plant growth and the response of plants to environmental stresses, but have a particularly important role also for formation of flavour, taste and texture, i.e. features highly relevant for vegetable crops and their performance on the market. The department will focus on unravelling the metabolic profiles and primary/secondary metabolite pathways (and their regulatory control) in harvestable organs (e.g., fruits) of vegetable crops by employing cutting-edge mass spectrometry methods.
Department leader: Prof Dr. A. Fernie.
Technology Transfer, Start-up Support, Commercialization, IP-Management, and CommunicationsThis department closely interacts with the scientific departments and offers its services to all researchers at CPSBB in order to promote all forms of knowledge- and technology-transfer. The department will also take care of the communications, networking and policy liaison to develop a close network of stakeholders outside of the scientific community in order to ensure sustainability for the Center. Thus this department will build a network with local and international partners and will facilitate access to this network for all scientists within CPSBB.
Department leader: Prof. DSc. I. Minkov
FundingReflecting the importance of third-party funding to the financial viability of the CPSBB, this department will provide assistance with partnership scouting, project preparations and grant applications to secure third-party funding.
Department leader: Assoc. Prof. Dr. T. Gechev