Katarzyna Knop, a post-doctoral researcher in Gordon Simpson’s lab, has been awarded a two-year Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship. Her research will focus on gene expression in plants, in particular those involved in plant immune responses.

Katarzyna aims to explore in detail the role of mRNA methylation in tuning expression of important plant immune response genes. Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model, together with state of the art approaches (like ChIP-Seq, iCLIP-Seq, Oxford Nanopore Direct RNA-Seq, WGBS, and MeRIP-Seq), Katarzyna will characterize a newly discovered interplay between gene silencing, methylation and transcription termination. Katarzyna will draw on the knowledge and expertise of her supervisor and mentor, Prof. Gordon Simpson and his close collaborators in this area, Prof. Rupert Fray (Nottingham) and Prof. Geoff Barton (Dundee).

Katarzyna said “Gordon Simpson’s lab, GRE, Plant Sciences and the School of Life Sciences provides an outstanding environment to conduct the best science possible, especially thanks to the international and interdisciplinary team together and state of the art facilities. I am convinced that the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship will allow me to develop further as a scientist and expose me to new career and collaboration opportunities, which will be essential for my scientific future.”

Katarzyna has been passionate about plant gene expression for several years. During her PhD in Poland she discovered new features of microRNA biogenesis regulation. She won a START 2017 fellowship recognizing the most promising young Polish researchers at the outset of their scientific career and also won an ETIUDA fellowship intended for the best PhD students in Poland. The ETIUDA fellowship gave Katarzyna the opportunity to spend six months in Gordon Simpson’s lab, during which she developed a new idea for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship project.

Gordon Simpson said “I am happy that Kasia has been awarded this highly competitive fellowship. This fellowship recognizes Kasia’s great potential in research. She has made valuable contributions to my lab since she joined and I am glad she will be able to develop her scientific career further here in Dundee.”