Dirk Inzé - AMAIZE

Onderstaande beschrijving is in het Engels:

Dirk InzéDirk Inzé is Full Professor at Ghent University and Scientific Director of the VIB, Department of Plant Systems Biology (Ghent, Belgium).

Dirk Inzé's research ambition is to decipher the complex molecular networks regulating plant organ growth and crop productivity. Research is performed both on maize and the model plant Arabidopsis.

Dirk Inzé graduated in 1979 at Ghent University, where he also received his PhD in 1984. In 1990 he was appointed Research Director of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), where he initiated highly successful research programs on the cell cycle and growth control in plants. In 1995 he became Professor at Ghent University. Dirk Inzé was the scientific founder of the biotechnology company CropDesign, which was established in 1998 and acquired in 2006 by BASF Plant Science. In 2002 Dirk Inzé was appointed Director of the Department of Plant Systems Biology of the VIB. Under his directorship, the VIB, Department of Plant Systems Biology, currently employing 300 persons, became one of the world leading centers for advanced plant sciences.

In 1994  Dirk Inzé was laureate of the Körber Stiftung Prize (Germany) and in 2003 he became EMBO member. Later, in 2005, he was laureate of the Belgium Francqui Prize and became elected member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. He was awarded the prestigious five-yearly Doctor A. De Leeuw-Damry-Bourlart Prize for Exact Sciences in 2010. In 2013, he received an Advanced ERC grant.

Dirk Inzé has served on numerous scientific committees, editorial boards and science advisory boards and has been an invited speaker at more than 150 internationally renowned conferences. In 2012 he became the Chair of the Life Science Committee of the important science policy organization, Science Europe.

Contact: Dirk.Inze@UGent.be

Publications: publication list

AMAIZE - Atlas of leaf growth regulatory networks in MAIZE

Understanding how organisms regulate size is one of the most fascinating open questions in biology. The aim of the AMAIZE project is to unravel how growth of maize leaves is controlled. Maize leaf development offers great opportunities to study the dynamics of growth regulatory networks, essentially because leaf development is a linear system with cell division at the leaf basis followed by cell expansion and maturation. Furthermore, the growth zone is relatively large allowing easy access of tissues at different positions. Four different perturbations of maize leaf size will be analyzed with cellular resolution: wild-type plants and plants having larger leaves (as a consequence of GA20OX1 overexpression), both grown under either well-watered or mild drought conditions. Firstly, a 3D cellular map of the growth zone of the fourth leaf will be made. RNA-seq of three different tissues (adaxial and abaxial epidermis; mesophyll) obtained by laser dissection with an interval of 2.5 mm along the growth zone will allow for the analysis of the transcriptome with high resolution. Additionally, the composition of fifty selected growth regulatory protein complexes and DNA targets of transcription factors will be determined with an interval of 5 mm along the growth zone. Computational methods will be used to construct comprehensive integrative maps of the cellular and molecular processes occurring along the growth zone. Finally, selected regulatory nodes of the growth regulatory networks will be further functionally analyzed using a transactivation system in maize.

AMAIZE opens up new perspectives for the identification of optimal growth regulatory networks that can be selected for by advanced breeding or for which more robust variants (e.g. reduced susceptibility to drought) can be obtained through genetic engineering. The ability to improve the growth of maize and in analogy  other cereals could have a high impact in providing food security.