Professional interests and goals: Since I joined the Grotewold lab at MSU as a visiting scholar, I have been studying the molecular mechanisms underlying the parthenocarpy process in tomato mediated by the MADS-BOX, SlAGL6. Together with the perspective of its partners and targets, in collaboration with the ARO Volcani Center-Israel, I am seeking to understand the downstream regulation of SlALG6 in the ovary arrest state.
At the same time, I have been bioengineering tomato with flavones and C-glycosyl flavones with insecticidal activity in maize. Using tissue-specific promoters, I am expressing the necessary enzyme-coding genes, specifically in trichomes and vegetative tissues. The main compound I am seeking to produce in the tomato plants is Maysin, a C-glycosyl flavone involved in the insect defense response against the lepidopteran corn earworm in maize silks, which also affects tomato and other crops around the world.
Being involved in those projects has allowed me to explore fields like plant protein interactions, gene network regulation, and gene heterologous expression, which has provided me many insights in my plant biotechnologist profile.