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Welcome to Urquiza Group

Synthetic Genomics

The goal of our research is to use the model plant organism Physcomitrium patens as a manufacturing platform for synthetic plant neo-chromosomes. Synthetic plant chromosomes have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of plant biology and provide a platform for plant improvement. To create and test these synthetic chromosomes, we use employ synthetic biology principles like abstraction, standardisation and encapsulation for facilitating the engineering process. We use several synthetic genomics platforms for this goal, including Yeast and E. coli from which DNA can be mobilised into P. patens that has a high homologous recombination rate.

Our current research focus is on the basic components of plant chromosomes, like centromeres and telomeres. We are working to transfer synthetic genomics know-how from mammalian synthetic genomics to plants, for which Human Artificial Chromosomes (HACs) are a reality. However, the design of plant synthetic neo-chromosomes requires the generation of plant specificity know how. We hope to elucidate the mechanisms for creating plant synthetic chromosomes, which could have wide-ranging applications in fields such as biotechnology and data storage.

By gaining a deeper understanding of the processes involved in creating synthetic plant chromosomes, we hope to be able to optimize and refine these techniques to make them more efficient and effective. The high homologous recombination rates in P. patens, the haploid nature of the organism, provides a promising platform for creating plant chromosomes from scratch.

Our research has the potential to make significant contributions to the fields of plant genomics, synthetic biology, and evolution, and to have a positive impact on agriculture and other areas of society.






2022-present Seed fund, Cluster of Exellence of Plant Science (CEPLAS), Germany

Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences

2019- CEPLAS Postdoctoral Research Associate, Institute of Synthetic Biology, Düsseldorf University, Germany.

2019 Postdoctoral Research Associate,  Institute of Synthetic Biology, Düsseldorf University, Germany.

2019 Postdoctoral Research Associate, BioRDM Team, University of Edinburgh, U.K.

2018-2019 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Halliday Lab, University of Edinburgh, U.K.

2013-2017 CONACYT fellowship (Mexico) for PhD on Molecular and Structural Biology, University of Edinburgh, U.K.

2012-2013 CONACYT fellowship (Mexico) for Master Studies in Systems and Synthetic Biology, University of Edinburgh, U.K.

Current Teaching

M4455 - Master module "Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology"