I was awarded my B.A. in Agronomy at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, where I continued on to earn a Ph.D. in Genetics and Plant Breeding. I used the SAGE (Serial Analysis of Gene Expression) technique to characterize the transcriptional profile in stems of 6 month old Eucalyptus grandis trees. Taken together with other projects that were developed in the laboratory, this work contributed to the construction of a local database with transcriptomic and proteomic information relating to different ages and tissues, providing a global vision of the genes involved in wood formation and potentially responsible for the fast growth observed in Eucalyptus species. These results indicate important targets both for future breeding programs and for genetic transformation.
After my Ph.D., I spent one year in a Eucalyptus pulp company in Brazil, where I worked as genetic breeding engineer aiming to develop better raw material to provide positive reflexes in the productivity of the forests and in the stability of forestry production (resistance to pests, diseases and drought), which, in turn, have a significant influence on the costs of forest production, cutting, debarking, logging and transport. In addition, considering its capacity to change the chemical and physical properties of wood, genetic improvement may contribute in a significant manner to gains in production, with the consequent reduction of industrial costs. This will improve the quality of the products, and particular properties can be optimized for specific uses.
While in the Rose lab, I worked on a number of projects. One was to characterize fruit from different tomato genotypes that vary with respect to shelf life and ripening under different conditions, and the other one involved the characterization of plant cell wall proteins and their role in growth, development and potential practical applications for enhancing crops as sources of lignocellulosic biomass for biofuel production.