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Cell Wall by Design Team - terminated its activities


Jorge Almiro Pinto Paiva, PhD


Current research focuses primarily on wood cells, using methods of integrated biology:
a) the role of cell walls and its impact on plant growth and development dynamics,
b) discovering the physiological, genetic and molecular determinism underlying the variance of the cell wall in the context of climate change, pests and diseases;
(c) development of predictive models of cell walls based on cell wall characteristics to identify new clues and discover new cell-derived biomolecules and use cell walls for bioenergy.

The team's research work will focus on the biosynthesis and creation of the secondary cell wall of plants, using the purple willow (Salix purpurea L.) as the main model. Eucalyptus and Medicago truncatula are also used as models for the functioning and regulation of the secondary cell wall of plants.

Research profile

  • DNA analysis focused on DNA methylation,
  • Reprogramming of plant development in response to adverse environmental conditions,
  • Gene expression profiling (NGS, RT-qPCR, proteomics),
  • High-throughput phenotyping,
  • Transgenesis of plants,  
  • QTL maps and join groups.


  • gene expression profiling (Hi-SEQ, Q-RT-PCR),
  • chemically inducible gene expression systems,
  • comparative anatomy,
  • detection of proteins and their activity,
  • plant transgenesis.

Current research activities

  • establishing protocols for in vitro cultures and transformation of purple willow,
  • identification of candidate genes for the secondary cell wall and other developmental traits in purple willow,
  • identification of reference genes for gene expression,
  • development of non-destructive, high-performance models for chemical analysis of purple willow biomass.

Selected papers

  • Leroy T., Roux C., Villate L., Bodénès C., Romiguier J., Paiva J.A.P., Dossat C., Aury J-M., Plomion Ch., Kremer A. (2017). Extensive recent secondary contacts between four European white oak species. New Phytologist 214(2): 865–878, DOI: 10.1111/nph.14413
  • Duque A.S., López-Gómez  M., Kráčmarová J., Gomes J.C.N., Lluch C., Fevereiro C.P. (2016). Genetic engineering of polyamine metabolism changes Medicago truncatula responses to water deficit. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture DOI: 10.1007/s11240-016-1107-1
  • Ribeiro T.M., Barrela R.M., Berges H., Marques C., Loureiro J., Morais-Cecilio L., Paiva J.A.P. (2016). Advancing Eucalyptus Genomics: Cytogenomics Reveals Conservation of Eucalyptus Genomes. Frontiers in Plant Science. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00510


  • Project no: 2015/19/B/NZ3/01489
    Project title: PurpleWalls - integrated research on (de) regulation of genome expression in wood willow biosynthesis in purple willow (Salix purpurea L.)
    Principal investigator: J. Paiva
    Duration: 11 May 2016 - 10 May 2019

  • Project no: 2012/07/E/NZ3/00510
    Project title: Poland-Portugal cooperation on cell wall remodeling under stress conditions in Medicago truncatula
    Principal investigator: J. Paiva
    Duration: 2017 - 2019