Biomedical Sciences
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Biomedical Sciences Experts

Mark Tester

Professor
Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division
King Abdullah University Of Science and Technology
Saudi Arabia

Mark Tester

Biography

The immediate aim of Professor Tester's research program is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that enable certain plants to thrive in sub-optimal soil conditions, such as those of high salinity or high temperature.  In our research group, forward and reverse genetic approaches are used to understand and manipulate traits that contribute to salinity tolerance and improve this in crops such as barley, tomatoes and quinoa. ‚ÄčOne intellectual aim is to understand the co-ordination of whole plant function through processes occurring at the level of single cells, particularly through processes of long-distance communication within plants. This aim is being addressed by integrating genetic and genomic approaches with a broad-based understanding of plant physiology in both controlled conditions and the field. An immediate applied aim of the program is to modify crop plants in order to increase productivity in conditions of challenging abiotic stress, with consequent improvement of yield in Saudi Arabia, the region and globally. A larger aspiration is to unlock seawater, by developing a new economically viable agricultural system where salt-tolerant crops are irrigated with partially desalinised seawater or brackish groundwater.

Research Interest

An immediate applied aim of the program is to modify crop plants in order to increase productivity in conditions of challenging abiotic stress, with consequent improvement of yield in Saudi Arabia, the region and globally. A larger aspiration is to unlock seawater, by developing a new economically viable agricultural system where salt-tolerant crops are irrigated with partially desalinised seawater or brackish groundwater.

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