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Plant Biotechnology Research Centre

Staff

  • Prof. Dr. Hoo Sun Chung
  • Prof. Dr. Stephen Depuydt
  • Dr. Jihae Park
  • Dr. Christine Jewel C. Uy
  • Jonas De Saeger
  • Hojun Lee
  • JiWon Choi
  • Mahmudul Huque
  • So Hyung Kim
  • Heewon Kang

Research

Research in the Plant Biotechnology Research Centre covers a broad spectrum of topics in plant science, ranging from molecular biology to environmental and agricultural applications. Research projects in our centre are aimed at understanding how plants perceive and process external and intrinsic signals to reprogram cellular programs as adaptive responses as well as improving plant-based environmental monitoring systems. We use Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), rice (Oryza sativa), and duckweed (Lemna minor) as experimental model systems to (1) elucidate the molecular mechanisms of growth/development, stress, and immune responses governed by Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases (MAPK) using chemical genetics; (2) identify novel biostimulants and their mode of action by developing rapid, and reliable phenotypic and molecular screening methods; (3) target crop yield genes by genome editing; (4) develop plant-based methods to monitor environmental toxicity (in collaboration with Incheon University). These projects provide training in several areas of modern plant biology, including: plant development, crop improvement for biotic/abiotic stress resistance, and environmental toxicity monitoring.

In addition, our center contributes to (research-based) teaching in several life science courses at GUGC, and prepares BA/MA/PhD students for careers in the field of modern plant biology, both in academia and industry.

Education

The Plant Biotechnology Research Center provides courses for undergraduate students in the BSc programmes of Environmental Technology, Food Technology and Molecular Biotechnology at Ghent University Global Campus.

General Biology (BA1): this is a basic course in biology with emphasis on the universal features of life, i.e. the general concepts in biological sciences. The course gives an introduction on the general (cell) biological processes in life forms, next to dealing with major concepts in energy generation (heterotrophs and autotrophs) as well as genetics and genetic information. The course also creates an overview of the different life forms and places this in the context of evolution.

Plant Biology (BA2): this is a basic course in plant biology with emphasis on biodiversity and evolution. The course gives an introduction on the anatomy, morphology and taxonomy of plants in the light of evolution and how adaptation strategies have been explored in relation to conquering land. Typical features of the major taxa are discussed, as well as underlying relationships in anatomy and morphology and potential applications for agriculture and biotechnology.

Molecular Biology (BA3 - BSc in Molecular Biotechnology): this course aims at confronting the student with the fundamental principles of molecular biology in prokaryotes and eukaryotes and zooms in on the structure-function relationship of DNA and chromosomes with regard to replication, transcription, translation and gene regulation. Relevant terminology is introduced and general concepts and principles are presented. An important aim is to bring insight into gene structure, recombination, gene expression and gene regulation, including the differences between pro- and eukaryotes.

Plant Physiology (BA3 - BSc in Molecular Biotechnology): this course unveils some of the most enthralling mysteries of plant life and shows the uniqueness of plants as a life form. The topics that are dealt with demonstrate how plants work and function, and highlight cellular and biochemical processes needed to complete a plant’s life cycle, in function of an ever changing environment. The course focuses mainly on higher plants and tackles physiological processes from a holistic perspective, i.e. focusing on the interrelationship between all organs of the plant. Next to that, the relationship between the plant (function) and the abiotic environment are deepened out.

Opportunities

The Plant Biotechnology Research Center welcomes motivated young scientists who want to further develop their career in science.

GUGC students internship program: The Plant Biotechnology Research Center provides intensive research training to GUGC BSc students during summer/winter vacation every year (Jun-Aug and Jan-Feb). Various types of training cover a broad spectrum of wet-lab practices in plant science including genetics, molecular biology, protoplast-based transient assays, genome editing, and plant-based environmental toxicity monitoring etc.

Ph.D. program: We recruit Ph.D. candidates (master’s degree required) with creativity and enthusiasm. If you are interested in understanding how plants think (i.e., plant molecular signaling) please contact Prof. Chung (hoosun.chung@ghent .ac.kr) for the opportunity. Successful candidates will receive a Ph.D. degree from the Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics (WE09), Ghent University, Belgium.