“And the winner is…” – ELGRA awards the first Gravity Spotlight Team grant
The team led by Professor Javier Medina from the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CSIC) in Madrid is the first winner of the Gravity Spotlight Team grant. This award has been created due to the ELGRA 40th anniversary and with the intention to foster the direct exchange of ideas within multinational and interdisciplinary research teams through workshops or similar.
Prof. Medina and colleagues are plant biologists who conducted a series of space experiments entitled “Seedling Growth” during the past few years in the framework of a NASA/ESA collaboration. The general objective of the project is to elucidate the combined effects of light and gravity on plant development. Interestingly, the team has already been able to demonstrate that red light can compensate, at least partially, for the microgravity induced stress at the cellular level in seedlings. In addition, the use of a set of light/gravity sensing mutants led to the identification of new phototropic responses to blue light in space. And there is more to come because not all of the data have been analyzed so far.
Through the ELGRA funding, the awarded team can now organize a dedicated workshop during which a more intense discussion of the “Seedling Growth” results will take place, face-to-face. This will increase the scientific output and at the same time a new project can be drafted.
The beneficiaries of the first ELGRA Gravity Spotlight Team grant are asked to provide deeper insights into their project during an oral presentation at the next ELGRA Symposium to be held in Granada in September 2019. Thus, there will be an excellent occasion to meet Prof. Medina and members of the team and to discuss with them the results of their “Seedling Growth” project.