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.


Moon H., Pandey A., Yoon H., Choi S., Jeon H., Prokchorchik M., Jung G., Witek K., Valls M., McCann H.C., Kim M.-S., Jones J.D.G., Segonzac C., Sohn K.H.

Identification of RipAZ1 as an avirulence determinant of Ralstonia solanacearum in Solanum americanum (2021) Molecular Plant Pathology, vol. 22 (3), pp. 317 -333 (DOI:10.1111/mpp.13030)

de Pedro Jové R., Sebastià P., Valls M.

Identification of Type III Secretion Inhibitors for Plant Disease Management (2021) Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 2213 pp. 39 -48 (DOI:10.1007/978-1-0716-0954-5_4)

López-Cristoffanini C., Bundó M., Serrat X., San Segundo B., López-Carbonell M., Nogués S.

A comprehensive study of the proteins involved in salinity stress response in roots and shoots of the FL478 genotype of rice (Oryza sativa L. ssp. indica) (2020) Crop Journal, (Article in Press), (DOI:10.1016/j.cj.2020.10.009)

Domingo-Calap M.L., Moreno A.B., Pendón J.A.D., Moreno A., Fereres A., López-Moya J.J.

Assessing the impact on virus transmission and insect vector behavior of a viral mixed infection in melon (2020) Phytopathology, vol. 110 (1), pp. 174 -186 (DOI:10.1094/PHYTO-04-19-0126-FI)

Popa C., Li L., Gil S., Tatjer L., Hashii K., Tabuchi M., Coll N.S., Ariño J., Valls M.

Author Correction: The effector AWR5 from the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum is an inhibitor of the TOR signalling pathway (Scientific Reports, (2016), 6, 1, (27058), 10.1038/srep27058) (2020) Scientific Reports, vol. 10 (1), Art. number 20947 (DOI:10.1038/s41598-020-78190-9)