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Canessa Lab

Dr. Paulo Canessa
Office: +56227703270


Dr. Paulo Canessa is Assistant Professor at UNAB (Chile) and Associate Researcher at the Millennium Institute for Integrative Biology (iBIO). He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the P. Universidad Católica de Chile, obtaining his Ph.D. degree in 2010 from the same university. During the period 2010-2016, he carried out short postdoctoral internships in the U.S. and Germany, staying mainly in Chile in the laboratory of Dr. Luis Larrondo (UC-Chile). He is currently the head of laboratory at the UNAB Center for Plant Biotechnology (CBV), which he joined in 2016.


The Canessa lab is a fungal-oriented laboratory moved by understanding the role of the environment and how genes and their interactions with environmental signals modulate the outcome of plant-pathogen interactions. For this purpose, the Canessa lab uses genomic data analysis tools as well as classic molecular approximations employing Botrytis cinerea and Arabidopsis thaliana as a working model.

Laboratory members

Dra. Consuelo Olivares, postdoctorante

Dr. Mario Agurto, postdoctorante

Gustavo Hoppe, alumno de doctorado

Gabriel Pérez, alumno de doctorado (desde 2021)

Danae Ramírez, asistente de investigación

Esteban Vásquez, investigador

Daniel López, estudiante de magister

Jaime Naranjo, estudiante de magister

Research Lines

Research Line 1. Characterize how nutritional variables (for example, iron availability) and other environmental variables impact the development and progress of the disease caused by Botrytis cinerea. Since these experiments have led us to describe a hypervirulence phenomenon in this important phytopathogen, we are also interested in understanding additional iron uptake mechanisms used by the phytopathogen, as well as the different virulence factors that can be used under these conditions.

Research Line 2. We are also interested in studying the photobiology of infection since light not only affects the infected plant, but also the pathogen. We are currently characterizing how the virulence of the pathogen is induced or repressed depending on the absence or presence of light.

Research Line 3. Plant hormones (line under development). We are also currently studying how different plant hormones modify the infection caused by Botrytis cinerea.

Selected papers (2015-2020)

1.Defects in the Ferroxidase That Participates in the Reductive Iron Assimilation System Results in Hypervirulence in Botrytis cinerea. Vasquez-Montaño E, Hoppe G, Vega A, Olivares-Yañez C, Canessa P. mBio. 2020 Aug 4;11(4):e01379-20. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01379-20. *Autor correspondiente. PMID: 32753496

2.Transcriptome analysis reveals regulatory networks underlying differential susceptibility to Botrytis cinerea in response to nitrogen availability in Solanum lycopersicum. Vega A*, Canessa P*, Hoppe G, Retamal I, Moyano TC, Canales J, Gutiérrez RA, Rubilar J. Front Plant Sci. 2015 Nov 4;6:911. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00911. eCollection 2015. *Co-Primer autor. PMID: 26583019

3. A circadian oscillator in the fungus Botrytis cinerea regulates virulence when infecting Arabidopsis thaliana. Hevia MA*, Canessa P*, Müller-Esparza H, Larrondo LF. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jul 14;112(28):8744-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1508432112. Epub 2015 Jun 29. *Co-Primer autor. PMID: 26124115

Selected Reviews (2015-2020)

1.The Clock Keeps on Ticking: Emerging Roles for Circadian Regulation in the Control of Fungal Physiology and Pathogenesis. Larrondo LF, Canessa P. Curr  Top Microbiol Immunol. 2019;422:121-156. doi: 10.1007/82_2018_143. PMID: 30255278

2.Circadian clocks and the regulation of virulence in fungi: Getting up to speed. Hevia MA, Canessa P, Larrondo LF. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2016 Sep;57:147-155. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2016.03.021. Epub 2016 Mar 30. PMID: 27039027

National and International Colaborators

Dra. Andrea Vega. (iBIO). Tema: Impacto de la variable nutricional nitrógeno en los mecanismos de defensa en plantas.

Dr. Harm van Bakel (Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, MSSM, New York, USA). Tema: Regulación transcripcional y a nivel genómico de patógenos durante infección.

Dr. Luis Larrondo. (iBIO y P. Universidad Católica, Chile). Tema: Mecanismos de infección en el contexto de variables ambientales, en particular luz. Mecanismos de fotopercepción.


«The sun and circadian rhythms» at Libertadores» Santiago Subway Station.