Monday 2 May
Fatma Kaplan completed a PhD in plant molecular and cellular biology in Gainesville, University of Florida. She focuses on nematode pheromones and discovered the first sex pheromone of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Her aim is to understand how nematode pheromones affect nematode population behavior, and how this can be used to control nematodes for eco-friendly pest control. She recently discovered that entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) use ascaroside pheromones for dispersal when emerging from the insect host. Dr. Kaplan co-founded Pheronym to bring nematode pheromone technology to the market to improve EPN efficacy and to control plant-parasitic nematodes. In an ongoing International Space Station - U.S. National Laboratory program, she will try to understand how EPN pheromone production and dispersal and infectivity behaviors are affected by microgravity.