Michael Broberg Palmgren
Nine plant species provide almost all the world’s food intake, and all are refined. By comparison, there are about 380,000 wild plant species. Nature therefore offers us huge genetic variation that we do not exploit today. Instead of examining how to make the refined plants more robust, our research addresses how to harness the hardiness of wild plants as a starting-point to make crops that are resilient to diseases and extreme weather events. Focus in on the draught and salt stress resilient plant quinoa and the perennial grass intermediate wheatgrass, an emerging grain crop.
In another line of research, we study the structure, function and regulation of primary active transport across membranes. Our major focus is P-type ATPase pumps that form a large superfamily in all forms of life. P-type ATPases pump cations (like essential metals, calcium and protons) and phospholipids across membranes. Well-characterized members are essential for many basic functions in cells and we aim at assigning physiological function to other less characterized pumps. All members of this family form a phosphorylated reaction cycle intermediate, hence the name P-type, and their evolution raises unanswered questions that we try to answer. The pumping mechanism of these biological nanomachines and how pumping is regulated is also investigated