The final destination for my two year-European Master of Science in Nematology (EUMAINE) was in the Laboratory of Nematology, Wageningen University and Research Centre. In this well renowned Laboratory, I conducted my thesis research work under the supervision of Dr. Anna Finkers-Tomczak.
My research was focussing on functional analysis of potato cyst nematodes effectors using RNA interference (RNAi), a tool which is under scrutiny for it is showing convincing efficacy and revealing a prospect in transgenic control of plant parasitic nematodes. A gene family have been recently identified in Potato Cyst Nematodes and was found to suppress effector- triggered immunity. To confirm its functional importance in nematode virulence, I engineered transgenic plants to express, hairpin RNA (hpRNA) and artificial micro RNA (amiRNA) such that the gene family will be silenced upon ingestion. In parallel to RNAi studies I further used Agrobacterium Transient Transformation Assay (ATTA) to rapidly screen effectors from an avirulent population on a resistant potato genotype. The aim was to identify potential avirulent gene candidates. From the RNAi, the virulence of PCN was severely compromised, suggesting that the gene family is essential for these outstanding parasites of solanaceous plants. In avirulent genes identification, two promising candidates were exposed and will be verified in future. Altogether, these results were interesting and promising in genomics.
All these interesting findings were backed up by an excellent atmosphere for research, great supervision, helpful colleagues and interest in the research area (effector-omics). I got an overflow of hands on techniques and skills in Molecular Biology and this is going to be my treasure for life. So, an advice to those who are questing for skills and knowledge, Laboratory of Nematology is the best destination and it will be a privilege.