On Monday, 30th May 2011, on Biotehcnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Ana Rotter defended her doctoral thesis entitled »Development and implementation of system biology tools: a case study of plant physiology data analysis« in the field of statistics. Her supervisor was prof. dr. Andrej Blejec and her co-supervisor prof. dr. Kristina Gruden.
Dr. Ana Rotter started with her experimental work in 2005 as a young researcher at the Department of biotechnology and systems biology. During her PhD studies she tried to build a bridge between classical statistical approaches and new approaches in molecular biology on the field of systems biolgy. Systems biology is associated with acquiring large amounts of data. This enables the acquisition of new knowledge while representing a challenge, both in the sense of (i) data analysis and their appropriate storage as also in the sense of (ii) interpretation of the results. One of the basis of systems biology is differential gene expression analysis using microarrays. For (i) we have established an appropriate data preprocessing system (quality control, background correction and normalization) as well as an approach which, taking into account the experimental design, enables us to search for differentially expressed genes. In order to facilitate (ii) we implemented the MapMan gene ontology database for potato and grapevine. At the Department of biotechnology and systems biology we use these two organisms in order to study their interactions with pathogens: grapevine and phytoplasma and potato and potato virus Y. Ontologies were redefined according to metabolic characteristics of the plant, where necessary. Pictorial representations of important metabolic pahtways have also been done to enable data visualization. This simplifies the biological interpretation of the results and thus new biological hypotheses can be generated or independant biological methods can be used in order to confirm the results obtained. Research and data analysis of this kind has and agronomic as well as economic impact. Dr. Ana Rotter in one of the winners of the »For women in science« award, provided by L’Oreal Slovenia, the Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO and the Slovenian Science Foundation - click for news (in Slovene).
Dr. Ana Rotter gave a talk on the joint meeting of young researchers and their supervisors from the National institute of biology and the Department of biology at the Biotechnical faculty of University of Ljubljana, which was held at the Biology Centre in Ljubljana. on 7th March 2011. More about this event can be found here.
Link to the lecture - VideoLectures.net (in Slovene)