Congratulations: Aoife Coffey submits PhD thesis Congratulations to Aoife Coffey who submitted her PhD thesis to the UCC graduate school on May 4, 2016. The title of Aoifeâ€™s thesis is â€œUV-B radiation; a specific regulator of plant growth and developmentâ€.
Aoifeâ€™s thesis work was supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and supervised by Prof. Marcel Jansen. Collaborators included
Prof. Els Prinsen at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and
Dr. Dara Fitzpatrick in the Department of Chemistry at UCC, Cork.
Aoifeâ€™s work focussed on the elucidation of plant responses to low levels of UV-B radiation. Exploiting natural sunlight, Aoife studied the role of the UV-B photoreceptor UVR8 in modulating growth and development of
Arabidopsisthaliana plants. Aoife showed that the UVR8 photoreceptor plays an important role in mediating UV-B responses, even under the low light conditions that are typical for Irish winters. In
Arabidopsis, one of the main plant UV-B responses is the accumulation of protective flavonoids, and Aoife studied the importance of the glycosylation of these compounds for UV-protection. Interestingly, many UV-induced plant protective compounds are also important from a (human) nutritional perspective, and Aoife showed that UV-B and especially UV-A radiation can substantially improve the colouration of lettuce, a finding that has considerable commercial perspectives for the horticultural industry.