Ghent University, Belgium
Alain Goossens(born 1971) has completed his PhD at Ghent University (Belgium) in 1998 and postdoctoral studies at the IBMCP-UPV in Valencia (Spain) in 2000.Currently, he is Principle Investigator at the Department of Plant Systems Biology at VIB and Professor in ‘Metabolic Engineering’ at Ghent University (Gent, Belgium).He has been mentoring over 25 master students, 20 PhD students and 10 postdoctoral researchers. He has authored more than 55 papers inpeer reviewed ‘A1’ publications, which have been cited over 1,800 times. He is co-inventor of 9 patent applications.
Across the plant kingdom, the jasmonate hormone steers the delicate balance between growth and the activation of defense programs, such as the production of bioactive specialized metabolites. These small organic molecules allow plants to cope with various types of stresses but often also have biological activities of high interest to human. Yet, the impressive plant metabolic machinery is still hardly exploited, mainly because of the limited molecular insight.
In our research we aim to identify the essential components acting in the jasmonate signaling network and to characterize the molecular mechanisms driving plant natural product biosynthesis in medicinal and model plants. Extensive collections of genes are generated that allow increasing our fundamental understanding of the central mechanisms that steer jasmonate signaling in the context of plant growth and metabolism. In parallel, these genes might serve as a novel resource for metabolic engineering tools that will facilitate the sustainable production of existing or novel plant-derived molecules with superior bioactivities. However, in order to achieve the latter, we need to unravel and reconnect the complex wiring of the multiple forward and feedback loops that drive the jasmonate-mediated boosting of plant specialised metabolism.