Live dangerously, live right! Plants, as sessile organisms have to struggle every day with adverse conditions, they have to cope with unfavorable factors (stressors).
As a consequence of living in a constantly changing environment, from which they cannot move, plants had to develop sophisticated means of monitoring and responding to changes in their environment.
They have a love/hate relationship with light and water: taking advantage of low radiation or a pulse of water, but being ready to deal with the stress occurrence (high light stress or drought/flood).
I am broadly interested in stress physiology, which studies how plants respond to environmental stresses of different duration. Every year, unfavorable environmental conditions (abiotic stresses) such as drought, high and low temperature stress, salinity, and flooding result in heavy crop yield losses in the U.S. and worldwide. Speaking of abiotic stress, we need to separate the environment from the biosystem (plants) side. These are two equilibrium environments or systems, both influenced by the occurrence of a stressor.
After the stress occurrence, plants may go back to a new optimum state through the strain. I am particularly interested in this recovery phase after the stress, which is key to restoration or to ultimate mortality.
My research focuses on defining mechanistic proxies of physiological traits for monitoring plant stress levels and the strain in their responses. My research goal is increasing the yield of crop plants by alleviating negative consequences of environmental stress.
Currently, I am using several physiological and biochemical approaches to elucidate the mechanisms involved in abiotic stress in the crop species Brassica rapa. Primary research techniques include, but are not limited to, gas exchange and chlorophyll a fluorescence measurements, and spectrophotometrical assays.