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Sainsbury Laboratory

Dr Sonal Yadav with background of microscopy image of shoot meristem of Arabidopsis thaliana

Humans of SLCU

Taking inspiration from Humans of New York, each week we will feature people from our SLCU community.


Meet Sonal…

Dr Sonal Yadav  |  Research Associate  |  Jones Group 

@Sonal6161  | LinkedIn


Sonal joined SLCU in January 2023 as a Research Associate and is working in three research groups - Alexander Jones, Henrik Jönsson and Elliot Meyerowitz. She recently defended her PhD from IISER Mohali under the guidance of Dr Ram Kishor Yadav.


Prior to SLCU

During my PhD I was investigating the upstream factors responsible for maintaining cytokinin homeostasis within the shoot apical meristem of Arabidopsis thaliana. For my Master’s thesis I studied the role of Fat-Hippo signalling in germline stem cells of Drosophila melanogaster with Professor Krishanu Ray at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.


Cytokinins and their role cell division and organ growth

My overarching research question is to understand the cell division promoting properties of cytokinins and their role in organ growth. This involves developing a cytokinin biosensor to visualise the cellular and sub-cellular levels of cytokinin in Arabidopsis thaliana. In addition, I will also investigate the role of cytokinin signalling in the epidermal cells of the shoot apical meristem. My research is undertaken using protein engineering and molecular biology tools in Arabidopsis thaliana.


Q&A with Sonal

What is your favourite tool of the trade?

The confocal microscope.


What’s your favourite and least favourite thing about SLCU?

Favourite thing is that SLCU is an inclusive space for people of all ethnicities. Least favourite is that the blinds go down when the sun is out.


What do you wish you knew when you were first starting off your PhD?

Patience is a virtue, and it takes a lot of patience and perseverance to get a PhD.


What is your favourite scientific discovery of all time?

Marie and Pierre Curie for their work on radioactivity.


What do you think will be the next big breakthrough in science?

Reverse engineering synthetic proteins that do not exist in nature but are predicted using RFdiffusion and AlphaFold.