Integrative Plant Biology Team

Assoc. Prof. Robert Malinowski
Karolina Stefanowicz, PhD
William Truman, PhD
Sara Blicharz, PhD
Aneta A. Basińska-Barczak, PhD Eng. (assistant)
Deeksha Singh, MSc (PhD student)
Namarta Chatar Singh, MSc (PhD student)


The main topic of the team is the growth and development of organs in higher plants. Alongside basic research including understanding the mechanisms regulating its final form plant organs, our work also has practical aspect associated with the recognition of the relationship between the development of the individual functional domains of plants and their ability to respond effectively to biotic and abiotic stresses. In our research we often focus on understanding the physiological aspects that may change the dynamics of growth, allocation of assimilates, mechanical plant resistance to stress.

Research profile

  • Signaling pathways responsible for regulating the size and shape of leaves.
  • Reprogramming of plant development in response to adverse environmental conditions.
  • Dynamics of the cell wall in herbaceous and woody plants.
  •  Changes in cell cycle progression after  Plasmodiophora brassicae infection.
  • The use of plants for the synthesis of pharmacologically active substances.


  • 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

  • We are currently conducting experiments designed to accurately describe the cascade of events leading to the formation of tumors after infection. The works are focused on changes in cell cycle progression and decisions concerning the differentiation of cells.
  • At the same time, we also work on the transformation of the cell wall during the formation of tumors.

Selected papers

  • Malinowski R., Truman W., Blicharz S. (2019). Genius Architect or Clever Thief - How Plasmodiophora brassicae Reprograms Host Development to Establish a Pathogen-Oriented Physiological Sink. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. DOI:10.1094/MPMI-03-19-0069-CR
  • Olszak, M., Truman W., Stefanowicz K., Śliwinska E., Ito M., Walerowski P., Rolfe S.,  Malinowski R. (2019). Transcriptional profiling identifies critical steps of cell cycle reprogramming necessary for Plasmodiophora brassicae-driven gall formation in Arabidopsis. The Plant Jurnal 97(4):715-729. DOI:10.1111/tpj.14156
  • Walerowski P., Gündel A., Yahaya N., Truman W., Sobczak M., Olszak M., Rolfe S., Borisjuk L., Malinowski R. (2018). Clubroot Disease Stimulates Early Steps of Phloem Differentiation and Recruits SWEET Sucrose Transporters within Developing Galls. The Plant Cell 30, 3058-3073. DOI: 10.1105/tpc.18.00283
  • Malinowski R., Novak O., Borhan MH, Spichal L., Strnas M., Rolfe SA. (2016). The role of cytokinins in clubroot disease. European Journal of Plant Pathology DOI: 10.1007/s10658-015-0845-y
  • Rolfe S.A., Strelkov S., Links M., Clarke W.E., Robinson S., Djavaheri M., Malinowski R., Haddadi P., Kagale S., Parkin I., Taheri A., Borhan M.H. (2016). The compact genome of the plant pathogen Plasmodiophora brassicae is adapted to intracellular interactions with host Brassica spp. BMC Genomics 17 (1): DOI: 10.1186/s12864-016-2597-2
  • Malinowski R., Smith JA., Fleming AJ., Scholes JD., Rolfe SA. (2012) Gall formation in clubroot-infected Arabidopsis results from an increase in existing meristematic activities of the host but is not essential for the completion of the pathogen life cycle. The Plant Journal 71: 226-238
  • Malinowski R., Kasprzewska A., Fleming A.J. (2011) Targetted manipulation of leaf form via local growth repression. The Plant Journal 66: 941-952
  • Kuwabara A., Backhaus A., Malinowski R., Bauch M., Hunt L., Nagata T., Monk N., Sanguinetti G., Fleming A.J. (2011) A shift towards smaller cell size via manipulation of cell cycle gene expression acts to smoothen Arabidopsis leaf shape. Plant Physiology 156: 2196-2206


Project no: 2015/19/B/NZ3/01489
Project title: Understanding the role of chitin related defence responses during Plasmodiophora brassicae infection
Principal investigator: William Truman
Duration: 20 June 2016 - 19 June 2019
Project no: 2015/17/D/NZ9/01977
Project title: The importance of cell wall changes occuring within host plant for the Plasmodiophora brassicae infection progression
Prinicipal investigator: Karolina Stefanowicz
Duration: 3 June 2016 - 2 June 2019
Project no: 2015/18/E/NZ2/00694
Project title: PurpleWalls - Unraveling genome regulation to modulate wood formation in Salix purpurea: an integrative approac
Principal investigator: Jorge Paiva
Duration: 12 May 2016 - 11 May 2019
Project no: 2012/07/E/NZ3/00510
Project title: Comprehensive analysis of the mechanisms leading to an imbalance between proliferation and differentiation of cells during infection by Plasmodiophora brassicae
Principal investigator: Robert Malinowski
Duration: 16 September 2013 - 15 September 2017