Bert De Rybel - TORPEDO

Onderstaande beschrijving is in het Engels:

Bert De RybelBert De Rybel graduated from the faculty of Bioscience Engineering of Ghent University in 2005 before starting his PhD research in the group of prof. Tom Beeckman focusing on early lateral root development in plants. For his post-doc, he moved to the lab of prof. Dolf Weijers at Wageningen University, the Netherlands in early 2010 funded by Marie-Curie and FEBS post-doc grants. Here he initiated work on early plant vascular development. He received a prestigious NWO VIDI grant to continue this line of research in an independent manner. Early 2015, Bert moved back to the Department of Plant Systems Biology of VIB/Ghent University funded by an FWO Odysseus II grant to work as a project leader on vascular development. Very recently, Bert De Rybel was awarded an ERC Starting Grant and from 2017 onwards he is group leader of the ‘Vascular Development’ lab within VIB and was appointed associate professor at Ghent University.



Understanding the molecular mechanisms controlling the orientation of plant cell divisions (TORPEDO)

The development of vascular tissues was one of the most important evolutionary adaptations that allowed plants to grow in environments other than water and to populate the land. Vascular tissues provide mechanical support and facilitate the transport of water, nutrients, hormones and other signaling molecules throughout the plant. These functions have enabled land plants to grow beyond the size of mosses. Early land plants adopted a tissue organization comprising three major tissue types, which can be found in almost all organs: the outer epidermis, ground tissues and centrally localized vascular tissues. This organization proved to be evolutionarily very successful, as it is still found in leaves, stems and roots of most modern land plants.

The plant vascular system develops from a handful of provascular initial cells in the early embryo into a whole range of different cell types in the mature plant (see Figure above). In order to account for such proliferation and to generate this kind of diversity, vascular tissue development relies on a large number of highly oriented cell divisions. Different hormonal and genetic pathways, such as for example the TARGET OF MONOPTEROS5 / LONESOME HIGHWAY (TMO5/LHW) pathway, have been implicated in this process and several of these have been recently interconnected. Nevertheless, how such networks control the actual division plane orientation and how they interact with the generic cell cycle machinery to coordinate these divisions remains a major unanswered question that we are currently addressing in our lab.