Institute of Plant Genetics
Polish Academy of Sciences

Integrative Plant Biology Team


Integrative Plant Biology Team

The Department has been created thanks to the ERA-CHAIR BIO-TALENT The Creation of the Department of Integrative Plant Biology EU FP7 No. 621321 project

Leader: Prof. Robert Malinowski PhD

Professor in the field of natural sciences, in the discipline of biological sciences

Habilitation Adam Mickiewicz University 2012
PhD Warsaw University of Life Sciences 2004 
MSc Warsaw University of Life Sciences 2000


Aneta Basińska-Barczak PhD
Sara Blicharz PhD
William Truman PhD
Karolina Stefanowicz PhD
Deeksha Singh PhD student
Namarta Chatar Singh PhD student

Previous members:

Soham Mukhopadhyay [currently PhD and postdoc at Laval University, Canada]
Juan Camilo Ochoa [currently PhD and postdoctoral researcher at the IBB PAS Warsaw]
Marcin Olszak [currently PhD and postdoctoral researcher at the IBB PAS Warsaw]
Piotr Walerowski [currently PhD and in a commercial biomed sector]

From left to right: A. Basińska-Barczak, R. Malinowski, N. Chatar Singh, S. Blicharz, D. Singh, W. Truman

Research profile

  • The role of a vascular tissue in a signal transduction in plants

  • Reprogramming of plant development, cell cycle progression and cell differentiation under biotic or abiotic stresses

  • Change in assimilate allocation in response to adverse environmental conditions or upon a pathogen attack

  • Mechanisms underlying tolerance and resistance to clubroot disease

  • Regulation of plant cell and organ size

Research Interests

We are primarily interested in understanding of the developmental plasticity in plants subjected to adverse environmental conditions or pathogen attack.

At present our work is conducted mainly on the interaction between the Plasmodiophora brassicae protist and brassicace plants. Most of the experiments are carried out on the Arabidopsis thaliana - a model plant, but our group works also on the oilseed rape (Brassica napus). Our work also includes the search for molecular mechanisms of the tolerance or resistance. While paying attention to host defence responses to Plasmodiophora brassicae we always try to understand the action of defence genes in a holistic way that includes physiological, cellular and developmental perspective.

Currently our team also works on the developmental plasticity of plant vascular tissues and the role of long-distance transport in adapting plants to abiotic and biotic stress.

Methods and approaches:

The integrative character of our group is further reflected by the fact that we do not restrict ourselves in the choice of experimental methods. Laboratory is fully equipped and allows to perform DNA, RNA, protein and functional experiments as well as various techniques of microscopy to answer basic questions in plant biology.

Our main achievements:

So far our team described cell cycle reprogramming of the host by Plasmodiophora brassicae (Olszak et al., 2019) and provided the evidence for the pathogen-driven mechanisms leading to host carbohydrate redirection during clubroot disease (Walerowski et al., 2018). This work also included the discovery of pathogen-driven increase in the accumulation of SWEET transporters and their role in increasing the availability of sugars to the pathogen. We also described the importance of changes in pectin status for cell enlargement observed during late stages of clubroot disease (Stefanowicz et al., 2021). Recent work of our team aimed at screening of natural genetic variation in Arabidopsis thaliana accessions lead us to the discovery of clubroot resistance gene RPB1 (Ochoa et al., 2023).

In the field of abiotic stress adaptation we found that phloem sap metabolic profile changes can be used as a proxy to understand garden pea response to limited water availability (Blicharz et al., 2021). Changes in C ad N metabolism reflected decrease in cellular growth as well as gas exchange and photosynthesis.


Key words

Arabidopsis thaliana, Plasmodiophora brassicae, plant development, cell growth, cell differentiation, cellular patterning, clubroot, plant vascular systems, plant-microbe interactions

Selected recent publications (See all in Scopus)

  • Ochoa, J.C., Mukhopadhyay, S., Bieluszewski, T., Jędryczka, M., Malinowski, R., and Truman, W. Natural variation in Arabidopsis responses to Plasmodiophora brassicae reveals an essential role for Resistance to Plasmodiophora brasssicae 1 (RPB1). The Plant Journal (in press)

  • Singh, D., Blicharz, S., Stefanowicz, K., Ragni, L., Michalak, K., Bagniewska-Zadworna, A., and Malinowski, R. (2022) Combining Clearing and Fluorescence Microscopy for Visualising Changes in Gene Expression and Physiological Responses to Plasmodiophora brassicae. J Vis Exp, e64297.DOI:10.3791/64297-v

  • Blicharz S, Beemster GTS, Ragni L, De Diego N, Spichal L, Hernandiz AE, Marczak L, Olszak M, Perlikowski D, Kosmala A, Malinowski R (2021) Phloem exudate metabolic content reflects the response to water-deficit stress in pea plants (Pisum sativum L.). The Plant Journal 106 (5): 1338-1355. DOI: DOI: 10.1111/tpj.15240

  • Stefanowicz K, Szymanska-Chargot M, Truman W, Walerowski P, Olszak M, Augustyniak A, Kosmala A, Zdunek A, Malinowski R (2021) Plasmodiophora brassicae-Triggered Cell Enlargement and Loss of Cellular Integrity in Root Systems Are Mediated by Pectin Demethylation. Frontiers in Plant Science 12. DOI:

  • 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 Journal 97 (4):715-729. DOI:

  • 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 (12), 3058-3073. DOI:

Projects (finished recently or current)


National Science Center (NCN)

Type Project number Project title in Polish Project title in English Project leader / partners Financing (PLN) Start date End date
Opus 24 2022/47/B/NZ9/00558 Zrozumienie zjawiska supresji ksylogenezy wywołanej u roślin przez patogen Plasmodiophora brassicae Towards understanding the suppression of host xylogenesis by the plant pathogen Plasmodiophora brassicae Robert Malinowski 2 425 973 09-06-2023 08-06-2027
Opus 21 2021/41/B/NZ9/02405 Molekularna i funkcjonalna charakterystyka mechanizmów odporności roślin rzodkiewnika (Arabidopsis thaliana L.) na kiłę kapusty. Molecular and functional characterisation of clubroot disease resistance
mechanisms in Arabidopsis
William Truman 1 642 374 02-02-2022 01-02-2025
OPUS 17 2019/33/B/NZ9/00751 Waskularna koordynacja długodystansowa u roślin porażonych przez Plasmodiophora brassicae Long distance vascular coordination in plants infected by Plasmodiophora
Robert Malinowski 1 978 760 05-02-2020 04-02-2024
PRELUDIUM 17 2019/33/N/NZ9/01048 Zastosowanie techniki edycji genomu CRISPR/Cas9 w celu charakterystyki genów odporności na kiłę kapusty u Arabidopsis thaliana Using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to characterise candidate Clubroot resistance
genes in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Ochoa Cabezas Juan Camilo 117 600 zł 16-03-2020 15-11-2022
OPUS 10 2015/19/B/NZ3/01489 Zrozumienie roli zależnych od chityny odpowiedzi obronnych roślin podczas infekcji Plasmodiophora brassicae Understanding the role of chitin-dependent plant defense responses during Plasmodiophora brassicae infection William Truman 895 460 20-06-2016 19-06-2021
OPUS 11 2016/21/B/NZ9/02020 Rola transportu floemowego w adaptacji grochu do warunków niedoboru wody The role of phloem transport in pea plants adaptation to water deficit Robert Malinowski 668 812 12-01-2017 11-07-2021
SONATA BIS 2 2012/07/E/NZ3/00510 Kompleksowa analiza mechanizmów prowadzących do zaburzenia równowagi między proliferacją a różnicowaniem komórek w trakcie infekcji przez Plasmodiophora brassicae Integrated approach for deciphering the mechanism leading to shift in cell proliferation/differentiation balance accompanying clubroot infection Robert Malinowski 1 340 258 zł 16-09-2013 15-04-2018
SONATA 9 2015/17/D/NZ9/01977 Znaczenie przemian ściany komórkowej roślin zainfekowanych przez Plasmodiophora brassicae dla rozwoju patogena The importance of cell wall changes occuring within host plant for the Plasmodiophora brassicae infection progression Karolina Stefanowicz 260 233 zł 03-06-2016 02-12-2019


Other projects

ERA-CHAIR BIO-TALENT The Creation of the Department of Integrative Plant Biology EU FP7 No. 621321


Copyright Institute of Plant Genetics of the Polish Academy of Sciences