Projects per year
Dr. Barrero-Sicilia is Lecturer in Biomedical Science (Genetics) at the Department of Clinical, Pharmaceutical and Biological Science. Cristina is an expert plant molecular biologist focused in elucidating plant biological mechanisms such as seed development/germination or plant response to abiotic stresses, and transferring the acquired knowledge in model plants to improve traits in agronomic crops.
By exploiting the potential of disciplines such as genetics, molecular biology, bio-imaging and mathematical modelling and computing, I build up my research career underlying the biochemistry and gene regulation networks governing plant physiology.
Working with model plants (such as Arabidopsis, tobacco) and crops (mainly maize and barley), during my PhD I achieved the molecular characterization of the MYB-R1 transcription factor, now considered as the master regulator of cell differentiation in the transfer cells of the seed (University of Alcala, Spain). In Prof. Carbonero’s lab (Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics, Madrid, Spain) I conceived and developed the system A. thaliana-Brachypodium dystachion-barley for the study of the DOF and bZIP transcription factor families as regulatory networks operating during seed development, germination and subsequent reserve mobilization. In the Lipidomic Group (led by Prof. J. Napier) at Rothamsted Research (UK) I worked on how the oil metabolism operates in an extremophile plant, Eutrema salsugineum, that has the traits of oil synthesis and stress tolerance (P.I. Dr. R. Haslam and Dr. L. Michaelson).
Enhancing Plant Stress Resilience during Seed Development and Germination
Linking my expertise in seed development/germination together with an expansion in my knowledge/skills on plant response to abiotic stresses, my research area is focused in advance the understanding in the role of the ABA phytohormone in a scenario of inter-connection between these physiological processes, in both model (Arabidopsis, Brachypodium) and crop species (oilseed rape, wheat, barley). It is widely recognized that the ABA is the major factor implicated in the imposition and maintenance of seed dormancy, preventing germination before the completion of seed maturation and therefore, inhibiting the pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) that leads to a reduction in grain quality, yield and viability, with severe economic consequences. In addition, decades of research focused to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that govern plant adaptive response to adverse environmental condition such as drought, salinity, cold or high temperature, which can reduce average productivity of crops by 50-80%. ABA represents a crucial signal for plant response to such abiotic stresses, leading the adaptive transcriptional response to resist those adverse conditions. Using approaches such quantitative genetics and next-generation sequencing technologies provide new opportunities to identify new genetic components responsible of trait variation.
Along with my research career I have always been committed to undertake research-led teaching and academic activities both as lecturer at the Biotechnology Department of the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid and as a supervisor of undergraduate and postgraduate students, besides PhD fellows. My teaching experience started at the Cellular and Genetic Dept. of the Universidad de Alcala (UAH), where I collaborate as lab assistant. Afterwards, I could participate as Lecturer in Grade and Post-Grade Programs of Agrobiotecnology at Univ. Politecnica de Madrid (UPM). I could supervise the Master Thesis Project of some of the best students in this field, and even better, some of them obtained PhD Fellowship to address the PhD Thesis. Under my supervision, all the students contributed to the publication of high quality research articles, demonstrating a high implication and motivation in the Research.
PhD Biology, Summa cum laude
2000 → 2005
Award Date: 2 Dec 2005
B.S. Science (Cell and Molecular Biology), Universidad de Alcala
1995 → 2000
Visiting Scientist, Rothamsted Research, Plant Science Dept., Herts AL5 2JQ
18 Apr 2017 → 18 Jul 2017
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Rothamsted Research, Plant Science Dept., Herts AL5 2JQ
2 Dec 2013 → 18 Apr 2017
Postdoctoral Research, Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas (UPM-INIA), ETSI Agrónomos, Campus de Montegancedo, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
1 Sep 2006 → 15 Dec 2013
Postdoctoral Research, Universidad de Alcala
1 Jan 2006 → 31 Jul 2006
Secondment Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Breading, Cologne, Germany
2002 → 2003
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Genetic Control of Lemna growth rate and protein content
Barrero Sicilia, C. & Huang, Y.
2/03/20 → 1/03/24
Understanding the impact of low temperature on seed germination in maize
14/01/19 → 13/01/23
FTIR spectroscopy for protein determination in Lemna
Barrero Sicilia, C. & McGrath, S. P.
Fat Duckweed (Lemna gibba) might be much more widespread in Hertfordshire than previously thoughtMashanova, A., Espinosa Montiel, J. & Barrero Sicilia, C., 1 Nov 2022, In: Transactions of the Hertfordshire Natural History society. 54, 1, p. 66-67 2 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile12 Downloads (Pure)
Lipid remodelling: unravelling the response to cold stress in Arabidopsis and its extremophile relative Eutrema salsugineumBarrero Sicilia, C., Silvestre, S., Michaelson, L. V. & Haslam, R. P., 1 Oct 2017, In: Plant Science. 263, p. 194-200 7 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile56 Citations (Scopus)176 Downloads (Pure)
Mannans and endo-β-mannanases (MAN) in Brachypodium distachyon: Expression profiling and possible role of the BdMAN genes during coleorhiza-limited seed germinationGonzález-Calle, V., Barrero-Sicilia, C., Carbonero, P. & Iglesias-Fernández, R., 1 Jul 2015, In: Journal of Experimental Botany. 66, 13, p. 3753-3764 12 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile17 Citations (Scopus)39 Downloads (Pure)
Genome expansion of Arabis alpina linked with retrotransposition and reduced symmetric DNA methylationWilling, E. M., Rawat, V., Mandáková, T., Maumus, F., James, G. V., Nordström, K. J. V., Becker, C., Warthmann, N., Chica, C., Szarzynska, B., Zytnicki, M., Albani, M. C., Kiefer, C., Bergonzi, S., Castaings, L., Mateos, J. L., Berns, M. C., Bujdoso, N., Piofczyk, T., De Lorenzo, L., & 19 others, 2 Feb 2015, In: Nature Plants. 1, 14023.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile102 Citations (Scopus)48 Downloads (Pure)
The BdGAMYB protein from Brachypodium distachyon interacts with BdDOF24 and regulates transcription of the BdCathB gene upon seed germinationGonzález-Calle, V., Iglesias-Fernández, R., Carbonero, P. & Barrero-Sicilia, C., 30 Sep 2014, In: Planta. 240, 3, p. 539-552 14 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile8 Citations (Scopus)29 Downloads (Pure)