Faculty of Biological Sciences

Dr Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso

Academic Fellow in Plant Sciences
School of Biology

Contact:  Miall 9.18, +44(0) 113 34 32811, email address for  

You can read more about Dr Benitez-Alfonso's interests here:

Research Interests

Symplastic communication in root development

In plants, cell-to-cell channels (called Plasmodesmata; PD) connect the cytoplasm of neighboring cells, forming the symplasm. These cytoplasmic bridges underpin the molecular communication required for coordinated development and growth, and for responses to the environment. PD are also the gateways for the vascular network that allows systemic transport of nutrient and metabolites around the plant.

Research in our lab aims to establish the importance of plasmodesmata transport in post-embryonic development and to reveal regulatory mechanisms controlling this form of intercellular communication.

Specifically, we study how symplastic communication influences root development in the model plants Arabidopsis thaliana and Medicago truncatula. Root post-embryonic development is characterized by the maintenance of the apical meristem and the continuous formation of new organs (such as lateral roots and nodules). Without a proper root system, plant uptake, fixation and transport of water, minerals and nutrients from the soil will be compromised. Therefore research aiming to optimize root architecture will directly impact on plant development, performance, productivity and adaptation to adverse environments. This is the ultimate goal of our research projects.


Faculty Research and Innovation

Studentship information

See also:

Modules managed

BIOL5152M - Topics in Plant Science
BLGY1005 - Tutorials (Joint Honours)
BLGY1303 - Tutorials for Biology and Genetics
BLGY2100 - Enhanced Study Skills for Biologists

Modules taught

BIOL5152M - Topics in Plant Science
BIOL5294M - MSc Bioscience Research Project Proposal
BIOL5372M - Advanced Biomolecular Technologies
BIOL5392M - Bioscience MSc Research Project
BLGY1128 - Living Planet
BLGY1303 - Tutorials for Biology and Genetics
BLGY1303/04/1005 - Level 1 Tutorials
BLGY1303/1304 - BLGY tutorials
BLGY2100 - Enhanced Study Skills for Biologists
BLGY2100/2301 - Level 2 Tutorials
BLGY2313/5156M - Mediterranean Ecology Field Course
BLGY3021 - Research Project
BLGY3291 - Comparative Genomics
BLGY3340 - Biology Research Projects


Rocio Gaudioso Pedraza (Primary supervisor) 90% FTE
Philip Kirk (Primary supervisor) 50% FTE
Andrew Galloway (Co-supervisor) 20% FTE
Ryan Kaye (Co-supervisor) 50% FTE