Assistant Professor Dr. Desislava Ivanova, recently recruited at the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Medicine and Nutrigenomics, has won the second prize in a competition for young scientists at the Institute of Molecular Biology "Academic Rumen Tsanev" at BAS for contribution to the field of Molecular Biology.
She is the author of the highly evaluated article, entitled "Small RNA analysis of Potato Spindle Tuber Viroid infected Phelipanche ramosa", published in the Journal of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry. Assist. Prof. Ivanova investigates the non-photosynthetic plant broomrape (Phelipanche ramosa), which parasitizes on the roots of some of the most common agricultural crops in our country such as tomato, tobacco, rapeseed, sunflower and others.
In her study Assist. Prof. Ivanova proves for the first time that when the parasitic plant is infected with in vitro synthesized viroids a protection mechanism against viroids molecule, called RNA silencing, is activated. Viroids infection leads also to a change in relation to whether the accumulation of conservative micro-RNA in the parasitic plant will be increased or decreased. And here we can draw a conclusion whether some genes in the plant will be developed to a greater degree or will be suppressed.
The more profound the research in the field of the silencing process in parasitic plants is, as well as with regard to the analysis of key genes responsible for the germination and development of broomrape, the greater the chances to develop new strategies for reducing the expression of these genes are, and hence the facilitation of the struggle against parasitic plants.
The award won by Assist. Prof. Ivanova is recognition of the scientific contribution and potential of the study and an impetus for continuing the research activities of the authors in the field of Molecular Biology.