Yovita Astuti Djohan, BSc MSc

SUPERVISOR: Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Biol. Dr. Stefanie Wienkoop, Privatdoz.

PROJECT: Resistance traits of Pisum sativum towards Didymella pinodes infection with and without heat

DESCRIPTION: During the late stage of D.pinodes infection, defense metabolites and phytohormones (i.e. monolignol, pisatin) are produced in pea leaves. These biomolecules also influence the lifestyle of D.pinodes. Investigating these properties on two pea cultivars' growth is crucial to understand resistance to D.pinodes infection and how these are affected by heat stress.

Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology

University of Vienna Biology Building, Djerassiplatz 1,
1030 Vienna Austria

email: yovita.astuti.djohan@univie.ac.at

Isha Joshi, BSc MSc

SUPERVISOR: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Peter Schlögelhofer

PROJECT: Uncovering the Interrelation of DNA damage and Pathogen Response Pathways

DESCRIPTION: DNA damage occurs as a consequence of various stresses and threatens all living organisms. An important type of DNA damage response signalling is elicited by the serine/threonine DNA damage checkpoint kinases ATM (Ataxia telangiectasia-mutated) and ATR (Ataxia telangiectasia-mutated and Rad3-related). This activation results in a slowdown or halt of cell cycle progression, and initiation of DNA damage repair. ATM and ATR kinases phosphorylate S/TQ motifs on target proteins. Based on a previously performed mass spectrometry phospho-proteome screen performed in the lab, a large number of substrates of ATM and ATR in Arabidopsis were identified. We also determined that about 99% of all measured cellular proteins (quantitative data for 9870 proteins) did not change in abundance 15 minutes after inflicting the DNA damage (via ionizing radiation). Accordingly, only very few proteins (18) showed a dramatic ATM and ATR dependent reduction of protein abundance following DNA damage. Interestingly, among these few proteins a large number is related to pathogene defense. This project aims at investigating the biological significance and the mechanistic details of the ATM- and ATR-dependent protein degradation of the pathogen-related proteins following DNA damage. We aim at finding responsible factors involved in the proteolysis pathway(s) and understanding the biological significance of protein processing/degradation under certain stress conditions.

Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology

Max Perutz Labs, Dr.-Bohr-Gasse 9,
1030 Vienna Austria

email: isha.joshi@univie.ac.at

Bushra Ijaz, BSc MSc MPhil

SUPERVISOR: Dipl.-Chem. Dr. Markus Teige


DESCRIPTION: The transcription factors of the basic leucine zipper (bZIP) family are known as a key players in plant development and stress response. For many functions, their phosphorylation by a protein kinase and subsequent binding of a 14-3-3 protein is required. Based on previous work in Arabidopsis, will clone functional orthologs involved in regulation of flowering and tuberisation in potato and test those for their function in situ and in planta for their impact on yield and stress resilience.

Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology

University of Vienna Biology Building, Djerassiplatz 1,
1030 Vienna Austria

email: bushra.ijaz@univie.ac.at

Fariha Naz Apon, BSc MSc

SUPERVISORS: Ao.Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Marie-Theres Hauser; Univ.-Prof. Dr. Peter Schlögelhofer.

PROJECT: Functions of cell wall integrity sensors in plant stress responses

DESCRIPTION:  The regulation of growth and modifications of the plant cell wall is intimately linked with responses to biotic and abiotic stresses and involves protein phosphorylation and Ca2+ signaling. The Hauser lab reported that members of the CrRLK1L receptor like kinase family in Arabidopsis serve as cell wall sensors regulating growth and immune responses. CrRLK1L are triggered by different stressors such as conditions inhibiting cellulose biosynthesis and/or elevated metal ion concentrations but also plays an important role in plant immunity and fertilization. The Hauser lab and other groups have recently identified upstream factors of CrRLK1Ls in the cell wall such as pectates or peptides of the rapid alkalization factor (RALF) family. The aim of this project is to understand the specificity of these factors and to identify downstream targets phosphorylated in a CrRLK1L-dependent manner upon abiotic and biotic stressors. This project will contribute to the understanding of the cell wall platform integrating external signals with growth responses.

Department of Applied Genetics und Cell Biology,Institute of Molecular Plant Biology

Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology,
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences

Muthgasse 18, 1190 Vienna, Austria

email: fariha.naz.apon@univie.ac.at

Sadia Sabrina Alam, BSc, MSc

SUPERVISOR: Ao. Univ.‐Prof. Dr. Andreas Bachmair

PROJECT: The role of post-translational modifications in plant resilience

DESCRIPTION: Enzymatic modification of proteins at their amino acid side chains after their biosynthesis can help plants to survive in a changing environment. In particular, environmental changes influence the already existing proteins to trigger signal transduction cascade. This initiates the synthesis of new proteins, and changes in abundance of many existing proteins.  Our focus is the modification of proteins by covalent linkage to the small ubiquitin-related modifier proteins (SUMO). This modification can be functional intertwined with phosphorylation, the addition of phosphate groups to protein substrate. It is known that the occurrence of both modifications increases in case of environmental challenges such as extreme temperature or drought. We analyze components and potential substrates of these modification pathways.

Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology

Max Perutz Labs, Dr.-Bohr-Gasse 9
1030 Vienna

email: sadia.sabrina.alam@univie.ac.at

Stefan Plott, BSc MSc

SUPERVISOR: Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Verena Ibl

PROJECT: ESCRT-Proteins and TOR as Regulators of Protein turnover in barley grains

DESCRIPTION: Barley (Hordeum vulgare) copes well with many stress factors and carries potential to replace wheat as a staple food. The endomembrane system is involved in transport processes of seed storage proteins and therefore important for grain filling. It is highly dynamic during grain development and strongly affected by abiotic stress. The Endosomal Sorting Complex Required for Transport (ESCRT) is essential for the multivesicular body sorting pathway. Target Of Rapamycin Complex 1 (TORC1) was shown to phosphorylate ESCRT-0 in yeast. This project investigates the effects of ESCRT proteins on protein homeostasis during barley grain development in response to abiotic stress with the focus on HvTOR using systems biology approaches including biochemistry, (phospho-) proteomics, cell biology, genome editing and metabolomics.

Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology

University of Vienna Biology Building,
Djerassiplatz 1, 1030 Vienna Austria

Email: stefan.plott@univie.ac.at

Hannes Kramml, BSc MSc

SUPERVISOR: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Wolfram Weckwerth



Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology

University of Vienna Biology Building,
Djerassiplatz 1, 1030 Vienna Austria

Email: hannes.kramml@univie.ac.at

Marintia Mayola Nava Garcia, BSc

SUPERVISOR: Dr. Yasin Dagdas

PROJECT: Characterization of a novel selective autophagy receptor pair in Arabidopsis thaliana

DESCRIPTION: Selective autophagy is a quality control pathway that enables cells to fine-tune their cytoplasmic content in orchestration with their surroundings. My project focuses on understanding how plants target specific cellular components for degradation via selective autophagy receptors in response to environmental stress. 

Department of 

Gregor Mendel Institute
Dr.-Bohr-Gasse 3, 1030 Wien

Email: marintia.nava@gmi.oeaw.ac.at