Dr Carmen Sánchez-Cañizares awarded Royal Society University Research Fellowship

Congratulations to Dr Carmen Sánchez-Cañizares, who has been awarded one of the Royal Society’s 2022 University Research Fellowships. The scheme is for outstanding scientists who are in the early stages of their research career and have the potential to become leaders in their field.  

Dr Sánchez-Cañizares, who is currently a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Phil Poole’s research group, will be pursuing a project on 'Shaping microbial physiology through cross-talk between regulatory networks'. She will begin her fellowship in May 2023.

Carmen seeks to understand how bacterial regulatory networks control cell physiology through a signalling cross-talk with their hosts, which allows cells to act according to metabolic requirements, environmental signals, and stress conditions. This is key to understanding microbe-microbe and plant-microbe interactions. She will focus on the symbiosis between nitrogen-fixation bacteria, called rhizobia, and legume plants. The ultimate goal is to optimise cell function in bioinoculants for sustainable agriculture, soil health, and food production.

Climate change and the looming nitrogen crisis – stemming from the intensive use of chemical fertilisers – are key challenges in agriculture. In light of these, soil microbes and their ability to influence plant growth, soil health, and resource use efficiency are becoming ever more essential. Deciphering these interactions will facilitate practical applications for sustainable agriculture and higher crop yields. Carmen says:

I am truly honoured to be awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship and would like to thank all those members of the Department who have offered their continuous support through the Biology mentoring scheme.

This is a life-changing opportunity to build an independent research career and establish a well-known area of research in microbiology. The support and funding from the Royal Society will certainly foster my research career and will allow me to lead a very exciting project. I feel extremely grateful for this recognition and I am looking forward to starting this new venture and building up my own research team!