Roza Bilas

Roza started in the Bennett Lab as a PhD student in October 2020.

Roza is passionate about plant root biology and belowground plant interactions with different organisms. She did a masters in Plant Biotechnology and masters in Plant Genetics at the University of Lodz studying hairy root transformation via Agrobacterium rhizogenes and in vitro regeneration of various Brassicaceae species. She has worked at the University of Virginia in Timko group on root parasitic plants interactions with hosts such as Striga with Arabidopsis and cowpea and Orobanche with Cannabis sativa. Her projects focused on host root exudates mediated parasite germination and both sugar and amino acids supply relevance to parasite accommodation. More recently, she has worked at the University of Cambridge in Paszkowski and Oldroyd part of ENSA Engineering Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa project studying cereal root symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. She worked on phosphate and nitrogen dependent regulation of symbiosis and on identification of functionally conserved Sym pathway elements in barley and maize genomes.

Roza’s PhD project focuses on resolving the mystery of plant-plant interactions that are mediated belowground and affect all aspects of plant fitness aiming to develop a coherent model that can reconcile all previous reports of underground self-perception, kin-recognition and neighbour-responsiveness in plants. Better understanding of this phenomenon will improve our perception of ecological community assembly including biodiversity and coexistence aspects as well as agroecological matters related to intercropping and planting density.

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