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GEN’s editor in chief, John Sterling, interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

Biologists have identified plant enzymes that may help to engineer plants that take advantage of elevated carbon dioxide to use water more efficiently.


Plants take in the carbon dioxide they need for photosynthesis through microscopic breathing pores in the surface of leaves. But for each molecule of the gas gained, they lose hundreds of water molecules through these same openings. The pores can tighten to save water when carbon dioxide is abundant, but scientists didn’t know how that worked until now.


Dr. Julian Schroeder and his colleagues have identified the protein sensors that control the response. During this week's podcast, Dr. Schroeder explains how the discovery might help boost the response in plants that do not take full advantage of elevated levels of carbon dioxide.

Julian Schroeder is Novartis Chair and Distinguished Professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego and is Director of the Plant Systems Biology NSF Graduate Training Program. Julian Schroeder has received several Awards for his research advances, including the Charles Albert Shull Award from the American Soc. of Plant Biologists, the U.S. Presidential Young Investigator Award, DFG Heinz-Maier-Leibnitz Research Prize, the Blasker Award in Environmental Science and Engineering from the S.D. Fdn and received a Feodor-Lynen Fellowship as a post doctoral scholar. He was Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Martiensried, was named Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute for Scientific Information, and is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. Professor Schroeder’s research is directed at the signal transduction mechanisms and pathways that mediate resistance to environmental (“abiotic”) stresses in plants, in particular drought, salinity stress and heavy metal stress. These abiotic stresses have substantial negative impacts and reduce global plant growth and biomass production. These environmental stresses are also relevant in reference to climate change and to expanding available arable land to meet human needs. Schroeder studies molecular and cell biological elucidation of signal transduction cascades in higher plant cells, examining the chain of events by which plant cells translate CO2 sensing, drought stress hormone reception and salinity stress to specific resistance responses.

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