I am very interested in the basic mechanisms driving biological behavior and specially on how to quantify them. Currently, I am investigating the ubiquitous symbiosis between plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). These organisms form a complex network of non-specific interactions, where multiple plant individuals can be connected to different AMF strains and vice-versa. Although this symbiosis is responsible for massive nutrient recycling, little is known about this interaction and especially the strategies by which plants and fungi trade and store nutrients.
By using phosphate-coated quantum-dots to directly visually nutrient transfer and distribution over fungal networks we can disentangle the components involved in decision making in plant-AMF and this allows us to manipulate nutrients landscapes and test which conditions favour the growth of the plant host. This knowledge will have a direct impact on the consumption of fertilizers and can optimize crop management for enhanced growth.
The combination of microscopy tools, image analysis techniques and microfluidic devices is opening up a field of fungal network imaging with unprecedented time and spatial resolution that could shine light on the mechanisms regulating conflict and cooperation in nature.
Robinson A, McDonald JP, Caldas VEA, Patel M, Wood EA, Punter CM, et al. (2015). Regulation of mutagenic DNA Polymerase V activation in space and time. PLoS Genet 11: e1005482
Caldas VEA, Punter CM, Ghodke H, Robinson A, van Oijen AM. (2015). iSBatch: a batch-processing platform for data analysis and exploration of live-cell single-molecule microscopy images and other hierarchical datasets. Mol BioSyst 11: 2699–2708.
Del Nery V, Damianovic MHZ, Pozzi E, de Nardi IR, Caldas VEA, Pires EC. (2013). Long-term performance and operational strategies of a poultry slaughterhouse waste stabilization pond system in a tropical climate. Resour Conserv Recycl 71: 7–14.
Serrão VHB, Alessandro F, Caldas VEA, Marçal RL, Pereira HD, Thiemann OH, et al. (2011). Promiscuous interactions of human septins: the GTP binding domain of SEPT7 forms filaments within the crystal. FEBS Lett 585: 3868–73
da Silva MTA, Caldas VEA, Costa FC, Silvestre DAMM, Thiemann OH. (2013). Selenocysteine biosynthesis and insertion machinery in Naegleria gruberi. Mol Biochem Parasitol 188: 87–90.