18 June, 2023
How plants deal with stress is a question that fascinates KAUST researcher Monika Chodasiewicz.
Since arriving at KAUST in November 2020, Chodasiewicz has built a group studying stress granules in plants. She now leads a team of nine, including postdocs, Ph.D. and master’s students.
Chodasiewicz is pioneering research in a field related to plant stress response. Under conditions of high temperature, salinity or drought, plants form aggregates of some of their cellular components — proteins, genetic material (RNA or DNA) and metabolites — into a membraneless structure known as stress granules, a type of biomolecular condensate. When conditions improve and the plant needs to resume growth, it releases the components back into the cell.