Pr. Jens STOUGAARD
Professor Jens Stougaard, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University
Jens Stougaard (B 1953, DK) studied Agronomy at University of Copenhagen and obtained the PhD degree in bacterial genetics from University of Sussex (UK) in 1983. During subsequent postdoc studies at Aarhus University, Max-Planck Institute for Plant Breeding in Cologne (Germany) and the Sainsbury Laboratory Norwich (UK) he focused on the molecular biology of legume plants. In 1994 he became Associate Professor at Aarhus University and was appointed full professor in Molecular Genetics in 2006. Since 2007 Jens Stougaard has been director of the Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Carbohydrate Recognition and Signalling and from 2010 till 2016 PI of an ERC Advanced Grant. He is currently Co-PI on the international “Engineering Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa (ENSA) project from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Jens Stougaard is President of the Board for the European Nitrogen Fixation Conferences and elected member of the board of directors for the International Society of Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. His research group is currently composed of 6 postdocs and 4 PhD students (www.carb.au.dk/da/).
During the past 20 years Jens Stougaard´s group has been one of the world leaders in the mechanistic study of genes regulating development of nitrogen fixing root nodules and mycorrhiza formation in legumes. Currently the perception mechanisms separating signalling leading to symbiotic interactions from disease defense reactions are in focus. The identification and function of plant receptors involved in perceiving chitin, lipochitin-oligosaccharides and exopolysaccharides and the downstream signal transduction cascades they induce are investigated. The plant model system used for this research is Lotus japonicus that is also used for investigating the long range signalling integrating root nodule development into the general developmental program of the plant. Genetics, genomics and biochemical methods are used to identify and characterise components of regulatory circuits. In order to improve the genetic analysis and to establish a system for reverse genetics, a large-scale insertion population based on the germ-line specific activity of the LORE1 retroelement was established and made available to the community. These efforts have been translated into crop research where ongoing research on faba beans aims to develop a North European/Northern Hemisphere protein crop by combining genomic selection and plant breeding. One of the specific objectives is to improve disease resistance in faba bean varieties and uncover the basis for immune reactions behind defense responses towards fungal pathogens.
Relevant recent articles:
- Kawaharada Y. et al. (2017) Differential regulation of the Epr3 receptor coordinates membrane-restricted rhizobial colonization of root nodule primordia. Nature Communications in press.
- Reid D. et al (2016) CYTOKININ OXIDASE/DEHYDROGENASE3 maintains cytokinin homeostasis during root and nodule development in Lotus japonicus. Plant Phys 170. 1060-1074.
- Kawaharada Y. et al. (2015) Receptor-mediated exopolysaccharide perception controls bacterial infection. Nature 523, 308-312.