Our Research

    Photo: Sorin Tanasa

Research Areas


  • Telomeres and genome stability

  • Regulation of meiosis

  • Role of RNA decay in genome regulation

Main objectives

  • Deciphering mechanisms of chromosome end protection

  • Understanding regulatory pathways that define the meiotic mode of chromosome segregation and application of this knowledge in plant breeding

  • Investigating non-canonical functions of the proteins involved in nonsense mediated RNA decay  

Content of research

  • Telomeres form the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes and are important for the complete replication of linear genomes and for chromosome stability. We found that the opposite ends of a chromosome adopt different end protective structures, the formation of which is dictated by the mode of DNA replication. Furthermore, we discovered a fundamentally novel mechanism of chromosome end protection that relies on the evolutionary conserved DNA repair complex Ku. In our current research we aim to understand how Ku mediates protection of these telomeres without triggering a DNA repair reaction. 

  • We study processes governing genome stability and chromosome segregation. Our research aims to decipher the molecular mechanisms that stabilize and protect chromosome ends, called telomeres, from being perceived by the cell as DNA damage. We also investigate the regulatory pathways that define meiosis, the cell division necessary for sexual reproduction and the generation of haploid gametes.
  • In our meiotic research we aim to delineate pathways involved in remodelling of the cell cycle machinery to enable the meiotic mode of chromosome segregation. We have identified Arabidopsis meiotic cyclins and revealed their contribution to diverse meiotic processes. Furthermore, we have discovered a genetic module, consisting of SMG7 and TDM1 that inhibits meiotic CDKs and facilitates the transition from meiosis to mitosis. Our current work is directed towards a molecular understanding of the SMG7/TDM1 function and characterization of additional genes involved in meiotic progression.