Research Areas dealt with at the Botanical Institute of the Northeast.
Biotechnology and Functional Genomics
Head: Dr. Pedro A. Sansberro
In this area, we develop procedures for mass cloning of superior genotypes and perform basic studies related to the biochemical and physiological processes governing plant functioning. So as to complete these tasks, we use the different techniques available for plant tissue in vitro cultivation. Furthermore, we carry out physiological, transcriptomic and metabolomic studies to elucidate mechanisms related to stress tolerance. There are two strategies based on transcriptome profile analysis that might be used: massive RNA sequencing, or the production of transgenic plants overexpressing the activity of a given gene of interest. Lastly, it should be stated that both annual and perennial plants (used in forage, industrial and forest crops) are dealt with in this area.
Cytogenetics and Evolution
In this area, researches carried out are related to the following topics: plant tissue in vitro cultivation, germplasm conservation, ecophysiology of crops, responses of plants to different stresses, and host-pathogen interactions.
The area involves the study of tropical and subtropical grasses directed towards their genetic characterization and improvement. The major research works are related to the study of the population of native species belonging to genera Paspalum and Andropogon, with special consideration given to evolutionary aspects. The study of grass reproductive systems and, particularly, of apomixes is one of the main duties of the research team. Moreover, in order to produce forage crops and grasses, researchers perform tasks for genetically improving some native and exotic species. Most recently, ecophysiological studies have been included in this area; they are related to the cultivation of the genetic lineage and the crops obtained by the research team.
As regards the team, most researchers also teach at Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias (Universidad Nacional del Nordeste). Members are naturally strong at work connected to training human resources, for instance, through internships, and undergraduate and postgraduate theses.
Plant Anatomy Laboratory
Head: Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez
Plant anatomy is a discipline including the comparative and developmental study of plant cells, tissue and organs. Currently, our lines of research tend to direct anatomical works towards systematics, phylogeny, physiology and other functional aspects of the species under examination. In addition, we own cutting-edge microscopy equipment so as to complete our tasks effectively.
Curator: Dr. Massimiliano Dematteis
Researchers fulfilling their roles at our Herbarium collaborate with numerous national and foreign institutions by identifying the taxonomy of the botanical material received as a gift for this purpose. Samples may belong either to the particular groups studied especially at our institute or to general collections. This service is considered to be part of the role of a Herbarium, which benefits for the enrichment of its collections.