Nicole Pontarin PhD

Nicole 1 In the glasshouse in France for work …Nicole on Majura And a quiet moment in the field in Canberra

I am a biotechnologist with a passion for the microscopic. This is why I specialised first in molecular biology and then in metabolomic analysis. I am also intrigued by the interactions beneficial to plant health. During my PhD, I studied how some molecules found in nature can act similarly to ‘vaccines’ in plants, by strengthening their potential to face environmental challenges. Sometimes you want your crops to be slightly challenged, because this increases the health value of some food products, for example their antioxidant content which is so good for our well-being. Natural molecules can be used to challenge the crops in a controlled way, and this is what I worked on to improve the content of omega-3 and omega-6 in flax oil.

From a more theoretical point of view, I am interested in studying how these natural interactions influence plant growth, carbon fluxes and biomass accumulation, and this is what I am working on within this amazing workgroup!  I am also examining the rate and manner of water turnover in leaves, using stable isotopes to examine the degree to which various water pools are isolated in leaves.

From a LESS theoretical point of view, Nicole is currently away for a while, having produced a junior, male, version of herself: Leander. We look forward to having her back in the group later in 2022.

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