Knowledge for a sustainable world

BSc, MSc, PhD

I’m a plant molecular biologist. My main field of work has been CRISPR/Cas precise genome engineering, plant viruses and studying the cell wall of plants.

I started out studying Nanotechnology, with subjects like Quantum Mechanics and Photochemistry & Photophysics but quickly specialized towards the Nanobiology with subjects like Gene technology and Heterologous Expression. I picked up plant molecular biology as I started my Masters project in 2011 within plant cell walls and their glycosyltransferases.

During my PhD I juggled multiple molecular biology projects. My core projects were plant cell wall glycosylation and CRISPR/Cas gene editing. As glycosylation may relate to allergenicity I was also producing engineered allergens in yeast for murine experiments and as such got into a fair bit of immunology and ‘glycoengineering’. I participated in the Copenhagen Consortium of Designer Organisms, where I started out early working with the implementation and advancement of precise genome engineering in plants. I was first Author on the ExAD paper “Identification and evolution of a plant cell wall specific glycoprotein glycosyl transferase, ExAD” published in Nature Scientific Reports and co-author on several other papers. My PhD obligations also included Teaching Assistant on basic inorganic chemistry & Heterologous Expression, and I mentored or took part in mentoring several Masters students.

I obtained my PhD in 2017 after which I joined the University of York where I worked as a Research Associate for 2 years. As Research Associate, I generated rice CRISPR/Cas knockout mutants and analysed their biochemical cell wall phenotype. The targets had been selected based on the results from a Genome Wide Association study. This led to the publication “CRISPR/Cas9 suppression of OsAT10, a rice BAHD acyltransferase, reduces p-coumaric acid incorporation into arabinoxylan without increasing saccharification” in Frontiers in Plant Science where I was first author.

In late 2020 I joined the University of Warwick as a Research Fellow. I was on a project to advance virus induced gene editing in plants using Potato Virus X and Tobacco Rattle Virus. The project was attempting to develop a method for virus mediated fingerprint-free heritable gene editing of plants. i.e. we wanted to be able to treat a tobacco plan with an RNA virus and obtain gene edited seeds, bypassing the need for tissue culture and protoplast regeneration.

Molecular biology and Synthetic biology are my main interest. I’ve been deeply fascinated with the prospects and possibilities arising from gene editing. Would anyone prefer a hairy tomato with a 2 day shelf life you can’t store in the fridge? Thought so. Or a crinkled cucumber.

This led me to my current research at the Agriculture, Health and Environment Department where I am using molecular biology approaches to study the host jumping of Tomato Leaf Curl Viruses. Recently Tomato Leaf Curl New Delhi Virus has been found infecting cucurbit crops (Cucumbers, Melons, pumpkins and the like).

Möller, S.R., Lancefield, C.S., Oates, N.C., Simister, R., Dowle, A., Gomez, L.D., McQueen-Mason, S.J., 2022. CRISPR/Cas9 suppression of OsAT10, a rice BAHD acyltransferase, reduces p-coumaric acid incorporation into arabinoxylan without increasing saccharification. Front. Plant Sci. 13, 926300.

Mnich, E., Bjarnholt, N., Eudes, A., Harholt, J., Holland, C., Jørgensen, B., Larsen, F.H., Liu, M., Manat, R., Meyer, A.S., Mikkelsen, J.D., Motawia, M.S., Muschiol, J., Møller, B.L., Møller, S.R., Perzon, A., Petersen, B.L., Ravn, J.L., Ulvskov, P., 2020. Phenolic cross-links: building and de-constructing the plant cell wall. Nat. Prod. Rep. 37, 919–961.

Petersen, B.L., Möller, S.R., Mravec, J., Jørgensen, B., Christensen, M., Liu, Y., Wandall, H.H., Bennett, E.P., Yang, Z., 2019. Improved CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing by fluorescence activated cell sorting of green fluorescence protein tagged protoplasts. BMC Biotechnol. 19, 36.

Mathiesen, C.B.K., Carlsson, M.C., Brand, S., Möller, S.R., Idorn, M., thor Straten, P., Pedersen, A.E., Dabelsteen, S., Halim, A., Würtzen, P.A., Brimnes, J., Ipsen, H., Petersen, B.L., Wandall, H.H., 2018. Genetically engineered cell factories produce glycoengineered vaccines that target antigen-presenting cells and reduce antigen-specific T-cell reactivity. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 142, 1983–1987.

Møller, S.R., Yi, X., Velásquez, S.M., Gille, S., Hansen, P.L.M., Poulsen, C.P., Olsen, C.E., Rejzek, M., Parsons, H., Yang, Z., Wandall, H.H., Clausen, H., Field, R.A., Pauly, M., Estevez, J.M., Harholt, J., Ulvskov, P., Petersen, B.L., 2017. Identification and evolution of a plant cell wall specific glycoprotein glycosyl transferase, ExAD. Sci. Rep. 7, 45341.

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