The goal of our research programme is to understand how plants respond to stresses caused by biotic and abiotic factors. We study how plants recognize pathogens and sense adverse environmental conditions, how these signals are transduced and which physiological and biochemical responses to stress are triggered. We also investigate the biological cycle of relevant pathogens and the genes that control their virulence. 

The teams in our programme work on different crops (rice, melon, solanaceous plants, etc.), as well as on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana studying their interaction with important plant pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and oomycetes. We study antimicrobial peptide production, transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of plant defence responses, and cell death in disease resistance. Our research also aims at understanding the interactions between defence and development and plant responses to combined stresses. 

In collaboration with agro-biotech companies, we also devote our efforts to apply the acquired knowledge to obtain crops with enhanced resistance to pathogens and better adapted to changing environmental conditions.


Soler M., Verdaguer R., Fernández-Piñán S., Company-Arumí D., Boher P., Góngora-Castillo E., Valls M., Anticó E., Molinas M., Serra O., Figueras M.

Silencing against the conserved NAC domain of the potato StNAC103 reveals new NAC candidates to repress the suberin associated waxes in phellem (2020) Plant Science, vol. 291 Art. number 110360 (DOI:10.1016/j.plantsci.2019.110360)

Wang H., Hu J., Lu Y., Zhang M., Qin N., Zhang R., He Y., Wang D., Chen Y., Zhao C., Coll N.S., Valls M., Chen Q., Lu H.

A quick and efficient hydroponic potato infection method for evaluating potato resistance and Ralstonia solanacearum virulence (2019) Plant Methods, vol. 15 (1), Art. number 145 (DOI:10.1186/s13007-019-0530-9)

Popa C., Shi X., Ruiz T., Ferrer P., Coca M.

Biotechnological production of the cell penetrating antifungal PAF102 peptide in pichia pastoris (2019) Frontiers in Microbiology, vol. 10 (JUN), Art. number 1472 (DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2019.01472)

Pascual L., Yan J., Pujol M., Monforte A.J., Picó B., Martín-Hernández A.M.

CmVPS41 Is a General Gatekeeper for Resistance to Cucumber Mosaic Virus Phloem Entry in Melon (2019) Frontiers in Plant Science, vol. 10 Art. number 1219 (DOI:10.3389/fpls.2019.01219)

Zhao C., Wang H., Lu Y., Hu J., Qu L., Li Z., Wang D., He Y., Valls M., Coll N.S., Chen Q., Lu H.

Deep sequencing reveals early reprogramming of arabidopsis root transcriptomes upon ralstonia solanacearum infection (2019) Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, vol. 31 (7), pp. 813 -827 (DOI:10.1094/MPMI-10-18-0268-R)