Núria Serra Serra receives a DOC PhD Fellowship

The fellowship will fund her PhD studies with Claude Becker, where she seeks to unravel the molecular and genetic mechanisms of the innate weed suppression capacity of rice.

Núria, originally from Girona in Catalonia, studied biology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona before moving to the Netherlands where she started her Masters degree in ecology and evolution. She joined Claude's team in early 2018 to finish her Masters degree and gain more experience with bioinformatics and genomic data sets before starting as a PhD student in Dec 2018.

Her PhD project is focused on understanding how rice produces chemical compounds, called allelochemicals, that inhibit the growth of neighboring plants. Previous work has shown that rice produces more allelochemicals when weeds are present - suggesting that rice 1) distinguishes "kin" from "non-kin" plants growing nearby and 2) responds to non-kin recognition. Her project will identify the chemical signals underlying non-kin recognition as well as the signal transduction pathway(s) that lead to the increased production of allelochemicals.