Joanna Kaptur

Research Project: The LEUNIG regulatory complex: How does it control shoot apical meristem formation during embryogenesis as well as its post-embryonic activity?

My research focuses on the genetic processes controlling shoot growth during embryogenesis and then throughout the life of the plant. Shoot development during embryogenesis is characterized by the formation of the shoot apical meristem (SAM), a proliferative structure that generates all of the above ground parts of the plant following the emergence from the seed. One of the key factors controlling SAM formation is the LEUNIG (LUG) regulatory complex. The aim of my studies is to better understand how the LUG complex promotes SAM formation. The results from my studies will provide a greater understanding of the genes involved in shoot development and in doing so, provide fundamental new knowledge that may be of use to plant breeders.

Project duration: Nov 2016- May 2020


  • The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology: Dr. Arun Sampathkumar
  • The University of Melbourne: Dr. John Golz

Personal biography:

I come from Poland where I did my Bachelor and Master’s degree in Biotechnology at the University of Wroclaw. I was investigating the biochemical properties of animal metallothioneins; proteins essential for metal ion homeostasis. After an 8-month internship at Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP), where my research was focused on molecular pathways regulating flowering in Arabidopsis, I have decided to apply for the joint PhD programme between University of Melbourne and MPI-MP.  I am investigating the role of LEUNIG in control of Arabidopsis embryogenesis and am mostly interested in formation of shoot apical meristem. I spent 1,5 year of my PhD in Melbourne, then I moved to Potsdam for 1 year and right now I am continuing my studies in Australia.

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