Current Lab Members

Prof. Julia Santiago Cuellar 🇪🇸 – Principal Investigator email

Julia Santiago studied Agriculture engineering/Biotechnology at the Technical University of Valencia, Spain. She did her PhD in plant biology and biochemistry/structural biology at the IBMCP and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble. She then moved to the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max Planck Society in Tuebingen, Germany, and then to Geneva, Switzerland, with support from FEBS and EMBO, to do her postdoc in the team of Michael Hothorn working on membrane signaling receptors. In September 2016 she started her own group as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Plant Molecular Biology at the University of Lausanne. She was awarded with the Early Career Award by the American Society of Plant Biology, a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) and the Programme for Academic Promotion of La Fondation Philanthropique Famille Sandoz in 2017.

Sebastian Augustin 🇩🇪 – PhD Student – email

Sebastian studied molecular biology at Heidelberg University, where he obtained both, his Bachelor (2013) and Master (2015) degree. During his studies he focused on plant biology with a special interest in cell-wall signaling. His main project was to characterize a malectin-like domain containing receptor-like protein, with a putative function in cell-wall maintenance. After his master, he decided to stay in the cell-wall signaling field and joined Julia Santiago`s lab as a PhD in 2016. His project focuses on the impact of LRR-RKs on cell-wall modifications during floral organ abscission in Arabidopsis thaliana, using genetics and cell biology paired with advanced protein biochemistry.

Caroline Broyart 🇫🇷 – Research Technician email

Caroline studied plant production and food industry at the University of Amiens, France (2004-2009). In 2010 she moved to the GMI in Vienna where she joined the laboratory of Claudia Jonak to work on stress signal transduction and cellular responses in Arabidopsis. After her maternity leave, she joined the lab of Florian Raible and Kristin Tessmar at the University of Vienna, Austria, where she worked on lunar periodicity in the bristle worm Platynereis. Caroline joined the lab in September 2017. She manages and provides technical support to the lab, and she is also involved in different projects on cell wall signaling and remodeling.

Dr. Pedro Jimenez Sandoval 🇲🇽 – Postdoctoral Fellowemail

Pedro was born in the city of Teocaltiche, Jalisco, Mexico. He obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering by the University of Guadalajara. In 2012, he joined the laboratory of Prof. Brieba at CINVESTAV where he continued his training in structural biology and protein biochemistry. In 2014, he started his Ph.D. in the same lab where he studied fundamental aspects of the structure-function relationship in proteins, dissecting redox-regulation and protein-engineering tools in cancer therapy. In 2019, Pedro joined Prof. Santiago’s Lab, at the DBMV at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Pedro is focused on understanding and dissecting the molecular mechanisms that drive signal transduction in plant cells.

Dr. Francis Lee 🇨🇦 – Postdoctoral Fellow – email

Francis was born in Korea and raised in the city of Toronto, Canada. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto with a double major in Neuroscience and Cell Molecular Biology. Francis then transitioned to plant biology by starting a PhD program with Prof. Daphne Goring at the University of Toronto. There, he characterized two leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase subgroups that regulate pollen perception and discrimination in Arabidopsis thaliana. In October 2020, he joined the Santiago group at the University of Lausanne to study how cell wall signaling is transmitted during the plant cell expansion process.

Dr. Steven Moussu 🇫🇷 – Postodoctoral Fellow – email

Born and raised in Bordeaux, France, Steven studied plant biology at the university of Montpellier. In 2013, he joined the ENS-Lyon plant reproduction and development laboratory where he did his master thesis on auxin signaling in Arabidopsis with Teva Vernoux. He then started his PhD on seed development in Gwyneth Ingram lab. There he focused on intercompartmental signaling aspects of seed development, uncovering a signaling pathway responsible for the formation of a novel structure at the interface between the embryo and the endosperm, the embryo sheath. In 2017, he joined the lab to study signaling events responsible for cell wall integrity sensing in Arabidopsis, combining structural biology, biochemistry and cell biology. Steven has been awarded with an EMBO long-term fellowship.

Andra-Octavia Roman 🇷🇴 – PhD Student – email

Octavia studied Biology at Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She did her Master in Molecular Biotechnology at the same University, in collaboration with Oscar Vicente’s lab at IBMCP in Valencia, Spain, working on isolation and characterization of the vacuolar Na+/H+ antiporter NHX1 from three species with different tolerance to salinity. In 2016, Octavia joined our group in the Department of Plant Molecular Biology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. She is interested in the mechanistic and functional characterization of hormone peptides in cell wall remodeling events.