News: ABA’s People Meeting (1985-2015)
A meeting to celebrate the scientific career of CSIC Professor Montserrat Pagès will be held at CRAG on February 10, 2015, and continued at CID (Barcelona) the following day.
Prof. Montserrat Pagès leads the group “ABA and water stress responses in maize” at CRAG, and her main research interest is to obtain plants that are better adapted to adverse environmental conditions. This is a major goal in molecular breeding programmes for drought, cold and salt resistance.
Montse Pagès studied biology at the Universitat de Barcelona. After graduating, she moved to the Centro de Biología Molecular (CBM) at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid where she obtained a PhD in 1976, studying the regulation of chromosomal transcription in Drosophila. By then, she was married and already had two kids. In 1978, when her third child was born, Montse and her family moved to Barcelona. Looking for new challenges, Montse decided to change her research topic to chromatin structure and function as a postdoctoral research associate at the Institut de Biologia de Barcelona. In 1981, she moved as research associate to the Instituto de Quimica Bio-Organica (CSIC), where she conducted molecular and chromatographic studies on the neurobiology of Drosophila.
After four years, she changed from Drosophila to plant molecular genetics, focusing on understanding how plants respond and adapt to desiccation. Abiotic stress, such as drought, cold and salinity, are the most important factors limiting plant productivity in the world, resulting in the deterioration of large areas agricultural land. In 1988, Montse Pagès' group made a fundamental contribution to the understanding of stress tolerance in plants, describing abscisic acid (ABA) and water stress-induced genes in maize. This topic became the focus of her work, as the group expanded its research to include the identification of regulatory elements, transcription factors and signaling intermediates. These tools prompted successful transgenic approaches to increase plant tolerance to osmotic stress.
Prof. Monserrat Pagès has published more than 100 articles in high impact scientific journals, covering the area from basic to applied plant science with patents pending on the field of plant molecular biology for improvement of plants to water stress. She regularly serves as a referee for several international journals and granting agencies. She has also served on the editorial board of several international journals. She was elected an EMBO member in 2000.