Bruna Marques dos Santos
Section for Plant Biochemistry
Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C
I am a biologist with a master’s degree in plant genetics, currently doing a PhD in Plant Biochemistry, and my motivation resides in understanding how nature functions, in order to preserve the environment and to improve human life in a sustainable way.
My current research focus is to understand how climate change impacts Eucalyptus species and the downstream consequences to the ecosystem using state-of-the-art "Omics" technologies.
Eucalyptus are long-lived trees that dominate a vast array of climatic regions across Australia. Due to its vast use by the forest industry and adaptability to different climatic regions, there are over 20 million hectares of Eucalyptus plantations around the world, providing renewable resources for the production of essential oil, paper, pulp and timber.
To interact with their environment and combat biotic and abiotic stress, Eucalyptus trees synthesize a diverse chemical arsenal of specialized metabolites, such as terpenes, phenolics and cyanogenic glucosides. Despite their toxic composition and low nutritional value, Eucalyptus is an important source of food for many animals, including the iconic koala. Climate change can disrupt the fine balance between toxins and nutrients in Eucalyptus leaves, threatening koala’s health and conservation.
The outcomes of this project will shed light on how long-lived Eucalyptus trees respond to a changing environment, providing a solid platform towards understanding how C3-type plants respond to climate change, which is highly applicable to important crop plants.
Due to the multidisciplinary aspects of my research, I have developed a wide set of skills, from plant ecophysiology to biochemistry and molecular biology, including:
- Proteomics (LC-MS/MS)
- Metabolomics (GC-MS and LC-MS/MS)
- Photosynthesis and gas exchange measurements
- Volatile organic compounds emission
- Plant growth and nutritional value analysis
- Cell wall composition
- Big Data analysis, Univariate and multivariate statistics (chemometrics) in MATLAB and R.
I like to integrate many different approaches to answer complex biological questions. Therefore, I am able to work in groups with people from different scientific and cultural backgrounds and I am also very good at establishing new collaborations and learning new techniques. I am also interested in the connection between the University and the industry, therefore in six months I plan to graduate and pursue an industrial postdoc position.