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Bernhard Blob

Bernhard Blob

Research Associate

Sainsbury Laboratory
University of Cambridge
47 Bateman Street

Cambridge CB2 1LR


I joined the Helariutta group at SLCU in October 2014 as a visitor after finishing my MSc in Biotechnology at the University of Muenster, Germany earlier the same year. In my Masters thesis I investigated the interaction of different sieve element occlusion proteins with a focus on the self-assembly capabilities and reactivity of forisome subunits from Medicago truncatula. In October 2015 I began my PhD in the Helariutta group.

Research Interests

As the sieve elements (the translocating cell type in the phloem) undergo a remarkable maturation including enucleation, my work focuses on early sieve element differentiation. This work has several aspects: I’m working with Jung-ok Heo on the spatio-temporal mapping of the gene regulatory network of differentiating sieve elements. For this we use fluorescence activated cell-sorting of sieve element cells at specific stages followed by RNAseq and network analysis of the resulting gene expression data. Also, I helped Dr Pawel Roszak to understand the redundancy and effect of DOF transcription factors involved in phloem fate determination by creating higher order mutants (up to sextuple combinatorial mutants) and collecting cell division data. Ultimately these two project will be linked as we continue to investigate phloem differentiation in these mutant backgrounds.

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Key Publications

Groscurth, S., Müller, B., Visser, F., Blob, B., Menzel, M., Rüping, B. A., & Noll, G. A. (2014). Uncertain role of MtSEO-F3 in assembly of Medicago truncatula forisomes. Plant Signaling & Behavior9(9).

Heo, J. O.*, Blob, B.* & Helariutta, Y. (2017). Differentiation of conductive cells: a matter of life and death. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 35, 23-29.

Blob, B.*, Heo, J. O.*, & Helariutta, Y. (2018). Phloem differentiation: an integrative model for cell specification. Journal of plant research, 131(1), 31-36.

Miyashima, S.*, Roszak, P.*, Sevilem, I.*, Toyokura, K.**, Blob, B.**, Heo, J., Helariutta, Y. (2019). Mobile PEAR transcription factors integrate positional cues to prime cambial growth. Nature, 1.

* Authors contributed equally

** Authors contributed equally