Dr. K. (Kasper) van Gelderen

Hugo R. Kruytgebouw
Padualaan 8
Kamer Z.302
3584 CH Utrecht

Dr. K. (Kasper) van Gelderen

+31 30 253 7434

I am a post-doc at the group of Prof. Ronald Pierik who focuses working on how plants communicate with each other through light. I am a collaborative and creative plant scientist. I am curious about how plant light signaling influences the growth of their roots underneath the ground. I love to create interesting research questions based on phenomena occurred in nature! And I love to find answers to those questions by combining knowledge in the fields of plant physiology, cell biology and molecular science. I am working hard to discover how plants adapt to the environment. This can be used to help plant breeding companies create more resilient plants.

You can find me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GelderenKasper

I have a blog that showcases my work and interesting research from others: http://plantrootsandlight.wordpress.com/

Plants growing at high densities compete with each other for space and nutrients. It is important for plants to be able to outgrow the competition and thus is it necessary to detect neighbouring plants very early. Plants can avoid shade from neighbours by detecting red (R) and far red light (FR) that is reflected from leaves of neighbours, which leads to an elongated plant growth. This is the so-called shade avoidance syndrome. The R:FR ratio determines the activity of phytochrome B, which controls the activity of transcription factors that induce elongated growth of plants. The shade avoidance of the shoot also affects root growth, so we would like to know how shade avoidance is signaled to the root in the model plan Arabidopsis thaliana. By applying extra FR to normal growth light we can induce this response in lab conditions and study it in controlled conditions and screen for mutants that are affected in shade induced signaling between shoot and root.

If you would like to do an internship for a Bachelor or Masters degree at our lab please look at the courses tab and e-mail me (k.vangelderen@uu.nl). We use a variety of techniques in molecular biology, plant culture, plant physiology and microscopy.

Left: Experimental setup used in my project to investigate the effect of above-ground plant competition on the root system. Right: The transcription factor HY5 plays a central role in my work. Here one can see confocal microscopy images showcasing the difference in HY5 quantity between control (White Light) and competition (+Far Red) in the meristem lateral roots.