Dr Brice Tonfack
Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
I recently joined the FMG group of Prof. Zander Myburg, in the Department of Genetics to bring my small contribution to the challenging study of the secondary cell wall development in woody plants. We focus on Eucalyptus and Poplar and we use Arabidopsis as a model plant for investigations. I am working on a project entitled “Cell wall engineering to improve woody biomass feedstock degradation”. Our main objective is to produce transgenic lines with modified cell wall structure or composition on specific tissues or cells.
I am especially interested on all that touches to the Plant Biotechnology since more than ten years. I did several research practices and perfections in open-field and green-house experiments and in molecular biology.
My research achievements allowed me to approach many relative complementary topics in Agricultural Sciences. This gave me the advantage to acquire and strengthen a large experience on a varied range of techniques and concepts in active domains from Agronomy to Molecular Biology. I had to study banana ripening in relation to conservation (Aghofack-Nguemezi et al., 2006); Moringa oleifera growth and cell wall composition under organo-mineral fertilization (Pamo et al., 2006); tomato production and fruit quality in relation to soil fertility and improvement (Tonfack et al., 2009; 2013); Spondias cythera fruit development (Youmbi et al., 2010), Kola spp. pollen grain conservation (Youmbi et al., 2012).
In the domain of functional genomics, we studied the functions of the plant Short Dehydrogenase-Reductases (SDRs) superfamily where their roles have been documented and discussed their phylogenetic diversification and structural features (Tonfack et al., 2011). We also investigated the potential role of uncharacterized SDRs in aroma biosynthesis (GFP mediated protein localization, plant gene silencing by RNAi strategy, recombinant protein production in bacterial system and in vitro protein kinetics… Moummou et al., 2012). Our interest to SDRs gave us to investigate also in the combined use of Hidden-Markov Models and phylogenetic analyses on a set of genomes representative of plant diversity, in order to conduct a global inventory and a functional classification of plant SDRs (Moummou et al., 2012).