Mutual symbiotic interactions have caught my eye since the beginning of my career. As a molecular biologist, the molecular mechanisms involved in the communication between different species deeply intrigue me. Understanding these hidden complex associations is not only fascinating, but it can also help us to solve global problems such as access to food and hunger.
My PhD thesis focuses on the sRNA exchange in the symbiosis between the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Rhizophagus irregularis and the crop plant Manihot esculenta. We want to characterize and benefit from this cross-kingdom communication under different abiotic stress factors, e.g., drought and flooding. The latter will allow us to understand the system response to abiotic stress and potentially improve the yield of this crop in developing countries.