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Caroline Gutjahr

Research interests | Publications | Curriculum Vitae

Université de Lausanne
Department de Biologie Moléculaire végétale
Biophore, 4403
CH-1015 Lausanne

Tel: +41 (0)21 692 42 33


Tel: +41 (0)21 692 42 33


Research interests

Plants cannot move unlike most animals and therefore have to adapt to what is imposed on them by their environment. This principle is also manifested at the cellular level: During development of the organismal bauplan plant cells unlike animal cells do not move but change in geometry and identity depending on their position and their neighbours. Plant cells not only adjust their shape in interaction with each other but also induced by the invasion of alien organisms like for example fungi. Whereas for pathogenic fungi the plant cell reacts mainly in an inhibitory fashion to keep the damage low, it supports the entry of beneficial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.
I am most curious about these three aspects of plant life: (1) How plants develop shape at different system levels (from sub-cellular components to the whole plant body) in general and under environmental influence, (2) how they can defend themselves against pathogens at the cellular level and (3) how two organisms belonging to different kingdoms can form a symbiosis and manage to closely live together as e. g. in the arbuscular mycorrhiza.
Within my interest for the mycorrhizal symbiosis I am most fascinated by the questions of (1) how the plant can recognize the fungus as a symbiont and distinguish it from pathogens at the different stages of mycorrhiza development and consequently what are the differences and commonalities between pathogen/symbiont recognition signaling pathways and (2) how the plant accommodates an alien organism within it’s tissue and steers formation of the symbiosis at the level of shape and structure - the most prominent process being the formation of arbusculated cells and (3) how arbuscular mycorrhiza influences root system architecture and functioning.


1) Cloning of an arbuscular mycorrhizal rice mutant

2) Root system responses to arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization



Research articles

Gutjahr C, Radovanovic D, Geoffroy J, Zhang Q, Siegler H, Chiapello M, Casieri L, An K, An G, Guiderdoni E, Kumar Chellian S, Sundaresan V, Harrison M, Paszkowski U (2012) The half-size ABC transporters STR1 and 2 are indispensable for mycorrhizal arbuscule formation in rice. Plant Journal DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2011.04842.x

Gutjahr C, Novero M, Welham T, Wang T, Bonfante P (2011). Root starch accumulation in response to arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization differs among Lotus japonicus starch mutants. Planta, 235: 639-646.

Gutjahr C,Novero M, Guether M, Montanari O, Udvardi M, Bonfante P (2009) Pre-symbiotic factors released by the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Gigaspora margarita induce starch accumulation in Lotus japonicus roots. New Phytologist, 183: 53-61.

Gutjahr C, Casieri L, Paszkowski U (2009) Glomus intraradices induces changes in root system architecture of rice independently of common SYM signaling. New Phytologist, 182: 829-837.

Gutjahr C, Banba M, Croset V, An K, Miyao A, An G, Hirochika H, Imaizumi-Anraku H, Paszkowski U (2008) Arbuscular mycorrhiza-specific signaling in rice transcends the common symbiosis signaling pathway. Plant Cell 20:2989-3005.

Siddique I, Gutjahr C, Seneviratne G, Breckling B, Ranwala SW, Alexander IJ (2007) Changes in soil chemistry associated with the establishment of forest gardens on degraded grassland soils in Sri Lanka. Biol Fertil Soils 44:163-170.

Reviews and book chapters

Gutjahr C, Paszkowki U (2009) Weights in the balance: JA and SA signaling in root-biotroph interactions. MPMI, 22: 763-772.

Sawers RJH, Yang SY, Gutjahr C, Paszkowski U (2008) The molecular components of nutrient exchange in arbuscular mycorrhizal interactions. In: Z.A. Siddiqui et al., (eds.), Mycorrhizae: Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, pp. 37-59   ©2008 Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.


Curriculum Vitae

2010 -present: PostDoc in Uta Paszkowski`s Lab

2005-2009: PhD in Uta Paszkowski`s Lab "Molecular players shaping the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in rice"

2004-2005: Marie Curie Fellow in Paola Bonfante`s Lab (University of Turin/Italy) "Plant responses to early signaling between AM fungi and Lotus japonicus".

2003: Diploma thesis in Peter Nick`s Lab: "Cholodny-Went hypothesis, hormone signaling and involvement of the cytoskeleton in gravitropism of rice coleoptiles".

Summer 2000: University of Aberdeen research expedition to Sri Lanka, hosted by the Institue of Fundamental Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka. Investigation on the recovery of soil fertility by forest garden establishment on degraded soils. 

1999-2000: Exchange student at University of Aberdeen (Scotland) focusing on Tropical Ecology.

1997-2003: Studies in Biology at the University of Freiburg/Germany: major plant physiology; minors microbiology, geobotany and philosophy.

1996-1997: Studies of violin and piano at the Musikseminar Hamburg (Germany).

Scholarships and awards

2010: Young Researcher Excellence Award (Prix d'Excellence de Jeune Chercheur), Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne. see press release 

2009: PhD scholarschip of the Societé Académique Vaudoise

2008-09: PhD fellowship of the Roche Research Foundation

2004-2008: PhD scholarship of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation)

2000-2003: Student scholarship of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation)

1999-2000: Scholarship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

1996: Award of the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie for final highschool exam in chemistry

Full CV:

pdf   CV_Caroline_Gutjahr2011.pdf  (51 Kb)


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