A selected number of methylation mutants of A. thaliana will be screened against drought, cold and varying nitrogen conditions, for changes in flowering time. A hypermethylated and a hypomethylated mutant will be selected for further analysis on plant physiology and epigenetics. Bisulfite sequencing will be used to study methylation dynamics as a result of changing environmental conditions, while RNAseq will be used to correlate with gene expression. So far, the ddc (drm1/2, cmt3) hypomethylated mutant has shown decreased sensitivity to stress in terms of changes in flowering time compared to Col-0 wild type and will be used for further analysis. Upon completion this project will shed light on the interplay between cytosine methylation, abiotic stress and flowering time in A. thaliana.
Dr. Emil Vatov, the awardee of this “Petar Beron i NIE” fellowship is an enthusiastic researcher with background in molecular plant physiology. He earned his BSc in Genetics and Biochemistry from the Aberystwyth University in Wales, where he studied the stem rooting abilities of the perennial grass Miscanthus as a bachelor thesis. After that, he moved to Germany, where he earned an MSc degree in Crop Science with focus on molecular plant nutrition and plant physiology. His master thesis was focused on the application of compost-biochar mixture as means to mitigate nitrogen leaching during a cauliflower – cauliflower summer rotation. His work at the LUFA Speyer institute and in Bioland Gemuesehof Hoerz gave him valuable experience in crop production and crop quality control. His PhD work he performed as a part of a collaboration project between the ZMBP institute from University of Tuebingen and the Crop Science institute from University of Hohenheim. The topic of his work was the interplay between nutrition, senescence and cytosine methylation in A. thaliana. This project was part of a larger collaboration on yield stability in changing climatic conditions and provided the foundation and background that led to the development of EpiFlowScen. Additionally, during his masters and PhD years Dr. Emil Vatov gained an interest in statistical programming, data modeling and machine learning for improvement of experimental design and data analysis.