Christa Testerink has been appointed professor of the new Plant Cell Biology chair at the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences per 1 February 2016. The new Plant Cell Biology chair will complement expertise of the groups of Plant Development & (Epi) Genetics, Plant Physiology, and Molecular Plant Pathology within the Green Life Sciences research priority area of the Faculty of Science.
To create new opportunities for the Plant Science cluster of SILS, the Plant Physiology group has been restructured in order to create a new chair. This chair - Plant Cell Biology - will investigate the molecular and cellular basis of plant responses to stress; how are signal transduction cascades organised in the cell and how do they lead to changes in plant development and stress tolerance? Focus areas are:
Christa Testerink (chair holder) and Teun Munnik (associate professor) are the principal investigators within this theme. Christa Testerink has been working in the fields of plant lipid signalling and stress biology. She has been awarded a VENI (2002) and a VIDI (2006) award for her research on PA- (phosphatidic acid-) binding proteins. Her main research currently focuses on the cellular signalling pathways linking stress and development of plants. In particular, she is interested in the effects of salinity, drought, and nutrient availability on root system architecture. Her research on salt perception, signalling and tolerance of plants is of fundamental importance, and in addition, provides breeders with new insights into growing crops on saline soils. In collaboration with companies from Seed Valley, she is currently studying the genetic basis of salt tolerance.
Within the Amsterdam Green Campus, Testerink participates in educational projects for high school students and teachers within the theme Green Environment.