My main research interest is how plants interact with their herbivorous enemies. In particular, the role of constitutive and inducible defenses in these interactions, and how these are modulated by the environment.
I did my PhD at the Experimental Station La Mayora-IHSM-CSIC (Málaga, Spain). My PhD research focused on the study of the genetics and biochemical control of type-IV trichome-associated defenses in tomato, which constitute important physical and chemical barriers in wild tomato species against herbivorous arthropods. After the completion of my PhD in 2013, I started to work as post doc researcher at the department of Plant Ecology and Phytochemistry IBL, under the supervision of prof. Peter Klinkhamer and dr. Kirsten Leiss, where I am currently involved in the project: “Manipulating plant metabolomic profiles by seed and plant cutting treatments to enhance plant protection against western flower thrips”.
My current research focuses on how variations in abiotic conditions affect plant-insect interactions. In particular, I study how tomato and chrysanthemum plants interact with one of their most important pest, the Western flower thrips Frankliniella occidentalis. By using genetic and biochemical analysis I aim to characterize how light quality (i.e. ultraviolet-B light and low Red: Far red ratios) and quantity (i.e. levels of photosynthetically active radiation) modulate tomato and chrysanthemum defenses against thrips. The optimization of these light conditions in tomato and chrysanthemum cultures can reinforce constitutive and inducible defenses, which constitutes a promising tool to increase crop production and protection against pests.
2017 Escobar-Bravo, R., Klinkhamer, P., and Leiss, K. Induction of jasmonic acid-associated defenses by thrips alters host suitability for conspecifics and correlates with increased trichome densities in tomato. Plant & Cell Physiology 58(3): 622–634.
2017 Escobar-Bravo R, Klinkhamer PG and Leiss KA. Interactive effects of UV-B light with abiotic factors on plant growth and chemistry, and their consequences for defense against arthropod herbivores. Frontiers in Plant Sciences. 8:278. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.00278.
2016 Escobar-Bravo R, Alba JM, Pons C, Granell A, Kant MR, Moriones E, Fernández-Muñoz R. A jasmonate-inducible defense trait transferred from wild into cultivated tomato establishes increased whitefly resistance and reduced viral disease incidence. Frontiers in plant science 7.
2012 Glas JJ, Schimmel BC, Alba JM, Escobar-Bravo R, Schuurink RC, Kant MR. 2012. Plant glandular trichomes as targets for breeding or engineering of resistance to herbivores. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 13, 17077-17103.
- Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen
- Instituut Biologie Leiden
- IBL Plant Sciences & Natural Products