We talk a lot about science, but who are the people behind MiCRop and what do they do? In this series, we interview the researchers that are driving MiCRop. Today, meet Rumyana Karlova, assistant professore at Wageningen University in the laboratory of Plant Physiology.
Who are you, and how did you get involved in MiCRop?
I am an assistant professor at the Laboratory of Plant Physiology at Wageningen University.
My research interest is focused on plants, how they respond to external and internal stimuli and how plants can change and reprogram their development. Plant roots are the primary organs that adapt their architecture and physiology to drought and salt stress and nutrients deficiency. Their performance is key to the ability of the whole plant to recruit nutrients and water. However, we have limited knowledge of how the root functions and how the roots interact and recruit soil microbial communities in order to survive different (a)biotic stresses. My involvement in MiCRop is in line with my research interests to understand how plants recruit beneficial microbes under abiotic stress (drought).
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on several projects to understand the role and importance of the root architecture (of tomato and potato), in abiotic stress resilience and the interaction of plant roots with soil microbial communities and other organic biostimulants.
What are typical tasks that you do in a week / what does a typical workday look like?
My typical workday in the times of the lockdown is sitting behind my computer, having online meetings, supervising my students and prepare manuscripts and project proposals as well as teach in a virtual class room. I am happy when I also can go to the lab and perform experiments or visit the plants in the greenhouse and collect samples for analysis.
What do you like most about the work you are doing?
I like to follow my scientific curiosity and to discover mechanisms and molecular networks and to implement these into practice, for example to improve crop growth and yield under stress conditions! I also enjoy to teach and supervise students.