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Sainsbury Laboratory

Research interests

I am a developmental biologist – I study how long-distance signals modulate plant development from the cellular to the organismal level. In the Jones group, I work on engineering the next generation of genetically encoded auxin biosensors and applying them to investigate how biosynthesis, catabolism, conjugation, deconjugation and transport contribute to auxin patterning in Arabidopsis shoot and root tissues.

Before joining the Jones group in November 2021, I studied Agronomy and General Biology at the University of Bordeaux, France where I obtained my BSc (2015) and a MSc in Plant and Molecular Biology (2017). I completed my BSc/MSc with 8 months of internship at INRAE working on the role of the strigolactones as a root-to-shoot signal in the context of grafting in grapevine under the supervision of Dr. Virginie Lauvergeat. I then did my PhD at the University of Leeds UK, under the supervision of Dr. Tom Bennett (2022). During my PhD I worked on understanding the interplay between strigolactone and KAI2 signalling in the control of seedling development (Villaécija-Aguilar, Hamon-Josse et al., 2019). In addition, I studied how the KAI2 signalling regulates the properties of the auxin transport system during the seedling’s transition from dark-to-light (Hamon-Josse et al., 2022), and hypothesised that KL signalling modulate the PIN-mediated auxin transport system to ensure correct photomorphogenic development. I gained during my PhD work a strong expertise in plant genetics, developmental biology, bio-imaging tools and analysis, and on long-distance and hormonal signalling. During my PhD project, progress on my hypotheses was impeded because I was unable directly quantify the levels of IAA in vivo with the necessary spatiotemporal resolution using available technologies (DR5, R2D2). My postdoc in the Jones group aims at addressing this challenge by engineering a new generation of auxin biosensors based on FRET technology, which once applied in vivo will serve for a better understanding of auxin dynamics at the cellular and sub-cellular level; and open new horizons to investigate how auxin “gradients” fine-tune auxin outputs on plant physiology and development.



Recent publications

Hamon-Josse, M., Villaécija-Aguilar, J.A., Ljung, K., Leyser, O., Gutjahr, C. and Bennett, T. (2022), KAI2 regulates seedling development by mediating light-induced remodelling of auxin transport. New Phytol, 235: 126-140.

Wheeldon CD., Hamon-Josse M., Lund H., Yoneyama K., Bennett T., (2022). Environmental strigolactone drives early growth responses to neighboring plants and soil volume in pea. Current Biology.

Villaécija-Aguilar JAKörösy CMaisch LHamon-Josse MPetrich AMagosch SChapman PBennett TGutjahr C(2022)KAI2 promotes Arabidopsis root hair elongation at low external phosphate by controlling local accumulation of AUX1 and PIN2Current Biology  32:  228– 236.

Machin, D.C., Hamon-Josse, M. and Bennett, T. (2020), Fellowship of the rings: a saga of strigolactones and other small signals. New Phytol, 225: 621-636.

Villaécija-Aguilar JA, Hamon-Josse M, Carbonnel S, Kretschmar A, Schmidt C, Dawid C, et al. (2019) SMAX1/SMXL2 regulate root and root hair development downstream of KAI2-mediated signalling in Arabidopsis. PLoS Genet 15(8): e1008327.


Research Associate

Contact Details

Sainsbury Laboratory
University of Cambridge
47 Bateman Street