University of Hertfordshire

Dr Cristina Barrero Sicilia




Dr. Barrero-Sicilia is a Research Fellow in Systems Biology for Food and Disease, working between the School of Life and Medical Sciences (within the Centre of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Management) and the School of Computer Science at University of Hertfordshire. 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.


Research highlights 


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. In Prof. Carbonero’s lab 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 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). 

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