The Persson lab aims at understanding how plants produce their cell walls, with a particular focus on the prominent cell wall polymer cellulose. This is the major contributor to the biomass of a typical plant and consists of glucan chains that are hydrogen-bonded into microfibrils, which also provide the major strength to the cell wall. Consequently, cellulose is a major determinant for directed plant growth and provides stature to plants. Cellulose is produced at the plasma membrane by large multimeric cellulose synthase (CESA) complexes. These complexes move forward through the membrane during synthesis because the cellulose microfibrils are entangled in the cell wall and further synthesis therefore pushes the complex forward through the plasma membrane. The direction of the movement is typically directed by cortical microtubules via the protein Cellulose Synthase Interacting1/POM2. A major goal of the group is to understand how the CESA complex is regulated, what the components involved in making cellulose are, how the microtubules impact on cellulose synthesis and the means that the cell wall uses to communicate with the interior of the cell.
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Meet the team
Professor, Group leader
I did my PhD as a joint degree between Lund University (SWE) and NC State (US) in 2003. I then joined the team of Chris Somerville as a postdoc at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford University (2004 to 2007) after which I started as a Max-Planck group leader at the MPI-MP in Potsdam (DE). I was offered a full professorship at University of Melbourne (AUS) in 2014 where I spent the next five years as an ARC Future Fellow. During these years, I was awarded a JiaoTong scholarship as visiting researcher at HZAU and later at SJTU (CHN) where I still maintain a joint role. In 2020, I moved to Copenhagen University via the aid of Villum Investigator, NNF Laureate and DNRF chair awards. I am currently also the Head of Copenhagen Plant Science Center.
I got my Ph.D at China Agricultural University under the supervision of Professor Yan Guo. We focused on how plants actin cytoskeletons are involved in regulating stomatal movement during abiotic stress. I joined the Persson Lab to study the regulation of the dynamics of microtubules and cellulose synthases during secondary cell wall deposition.
Guillermo Moreno Pescador
Originally from Spain, I am currently a PostDoc in Biophysics at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PLEN) & Niels Bohr Institute (NBI) since 2021, both at the University of Copenhagen. I finished my Ph.D. in June 2018 at the Niels Bohr Institute (UCPH) in the Experimental biophysics and Optical manipulations group (former Optical Tweezers group). I used optical tweezers, thermoplasmonics, and a wide range of microscopy techniques applied to membrane proteins in cells and synthetic systems during my research. Formally trained as an acoustician and physicist, my current research interests fall at the crossroads of plant biophysics, optical tweezers, and single-molecule biophysics.
From China. Finished my PhD in plant cell biology in the Sampathkumar lab in MPI-MP, Germany. I am interested in the organization and dynamics of cytoskeleton, and the impact of cellular behavior on developmental aspects. From the August of 2022, I joined Staffan’s group to investigate the formation of leaf airspace, and the root growth behavior in soil, during the development of the model plant Arabidopsis.
I graduated from a Bachelor of Applied Science (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) and Honours of Science (University of Melbourne) and have been in science for over 15 years in varying roles from diagnostic cytopathology, heart failure research and now, in plant research. I have moved from Melbourne, Australia to join Staffan's group as a laboratory supervisor, managing administrative tasks, procurement, safety and training for the group as well as assisting in general technician duties.
I am from China, and working on the PhD project with title of -Carbon allocation among carbohydrates in rice grain. The main aim is to figure out how whole carbohydrate-producing pathways are regulated in plants with a particular focus on rice grain. My hobbies are watching movies, reading, and badminton.
Born in France, I got my Bachelor degree in Biology at the University of Angers before moving to Germany to join the international Master's program of Plant Sciences at the University of Bonn. I am currently working as a research assistant in Staffan Persson's group and I would like to pursue my scientific career as a PhD student in plant molecular biology or biochemistry. Outside the lab I like to read, play basketball and discover foreign cuisines.
Research: Investigating computational structural biochemistry of carbohydrate active enzymes. Fellowship: NNF Biotechnology Postdoc. Carlsberg Foundation and MSCA AgSk+ Fellow at INRAE Marseille. Activities and hobbies: DIB NyT�nk project promoting sustainable �green� technologies from Southeast Asia. Running, Football, red wine and Raspberry Pi.
I am interested in the interplay between membrane lipids and membrane associated proteins in signaling pathway. During my PhD in Dr. Yvon Jaillais� lab, we unraveled the existence of a protein complex produding phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate at the plasma membrane. I am pursuing my work in the context of cellulose synthesis at the University of Copenhagen in the lab of Prof. Staffan Persson, studying how membrane signaling lipids can regulate cellulose synthase complex trafficking and dynamic.
My research interest lies at the interface between experimental optics and biology. Particularly, I am interested in developing new platforms of multi-dimensional imaging and visualization systems for identification of dynamic soft matters e.g. bio-samples. I completed the PhD in experimental Optics and Laser Physics at Shahid Beheshti University of Iran in 2020. I joined the Cellulose Synthesis research group at the Department of Plant and Environmental Science as a postdoc in 2021. My research aim is the development of label-free quantitative optical imaging methodologies for plant cell wall studies. I am very interested in Art and Literature and my further activities are Painting (portray and Vitray) and Persian poetry and songwriting. Link:�https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Samira-Ebrahimi-4
After a BSc in Germany, I moved to Sweden for a MSc in molecular plant sciences and stayed for a PhD in Edouard Pesquet's group at Stockholm University. After years working on the cell-specific – and surprisingly dynamic – lignification of secondary cell walls, I am now investigating how plants continuously adjust the structure and composition of their primary cell walls to maintain growth in challenging environments. More specifically, I am curious about putative feedback mechanisms between PM-bound receptor-like kinases and cell wall biosynthesis.
Jordy Perez Gonzalez
Originally from Mexico, where I study a bachelor in Biology. Since I wanted to develop myself in an international environment, I moved to Germany to study a Master in Plant Sciences at the University of Bonn. Currently, I am a PhD student working with microtubule-associated proteins in plant and animal cells. My goal is to become skillful manager in industry. Outside work, I enjoy photography and digital art, traveling and long hikes.
From Denmark, studied my masters at University of Copenhagen at Niels Bohr institute, specialised in Bio- and Medical Physics. Currently working on investigating the actin part of the cytoskeleton in Arabidopsis. This is done by developing an algorithm using graph theory.
I completed my PhD with Silvia Vignolini in the Chemistry Department at the University of Cambridge, UK, where I studied the secondary cell wall architecture, unravelling how the properties and arrangement of the carbohydrate polymers give rise to a beautiful phenomenon, structural colour, in certain plants, like Microsorum thailandicum (https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2018.0055), Pollia condensata (https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2111723118) and Margaritaria nobilis. I joined Staffan Persson as a postdoctoral researcher in August 2020 to study the deposition and rearrangement of xyloglucan via chemical labelling and fluorescence microscopy.
I started studying plant biology at Bordeaux University (France), and I then joined Olivier Hamant�group in Lyon (France) to do a PhD on how the cell cortex contributes to mechano-transduction during plant development. With a strong interest for developmental biology and interdisciplinary approaches, I studied the relative contribution of mechanical stress on cortical microtubule orientation using single cell system (Colin et al., 2020, PNAS). In parallel, I also investigated the role of the plasma membrane as a mechano-transducer, focusing on two major aspects of plant development. More recently, I joined the group as a post doc, to investigate plasma membrane-cytoskeleton anchoring mechanisms.
Born in India, I did my bachelor�s study in Agricultural Sciences and master�s in Plant Biotechnology from University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, India. Then, I did my PhD at Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Potsdam Germany (DAAD Scholarship) where I characterized role of previously uncharacterized gene family (DUFs) in the synthesis of cell wall. Currently, I am employing proximity-based labelling (PL) approach combined with mass spectrometry (MS)-based quantitative proteomics to unravel novel molecular interactions of candidates.
I am Liu Wang, from China, where I finished my master study in China Agricultural University. I then joined Persson lab in the University of Melbourne in 2018 as a PhD student, during which I focused on revealing the functions of COMPANION OF CELLULOSE SYNTHASE (CC) proteins in an evolutionary context. During my postdoc in University of Copenhagen, I will explore how cellulose synthesis is regulated under salt stress.
Born and raised in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy. After a bachelor's in Biology, I moved to Copenhagen for my master's in Molecular Biology and Genetics. I am currently a PhD student, where I mainly focus my research on micro RNAs and how they affect secondary cell wall growth and patterning. I enjoy teaching and I hope I will be able to make it my job someday. Outside the lab, I enjoy cooking, playing music, and video games!