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New Group Leader to join The Sainsbury Laboratory

18 May 2023

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The Sainsbury Laboratory are delighted to announce that Dr Tatsuya Nobori will be joining them as a group leader next year.

With a strong background in the field of molecular plant-microbe interactions (MPMI), Tatsuya brings expertise in the use of single-cell omics and spatial omics technologies to better understand how individual cells of plants and microbes interact with each other.

“I am thrilled to begin my journey as a group leader at TSL, my dream place for a long time.” says Tatsuya, who is currently based at the Salk Institute in San Diego, “Being a part of the dynamic research community at the Norwich Research Park is incredibly exciting. TSL offers an environment that encourages creativity and fosters unlimited opportunities.”

Tatsuya, originally from Japan, obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in plant physiology from The University of Tokyo. During his master’s program, Tatsuya participated in a year-long internship at CEA Cadarache in France, where he was able to discover more about molecular biology and genetics.

Tatsuya was introduced to the fascinating field of plant-microbe interactions at the Max-Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, where he pursued his PhD under the mentorship of Dr Kenichi Tsuda. During this time, he established novel methods for profiling bacterial transcriptomes and proteomes within plant hosts. These new methods opened the door for the analysis of how plant immunity affects bacterial responses to suppress pathogen growth and assemble the microbiota.

As his PhD journey progressed, Tatsuya became intrigued by the heterogeneity in plant-microbe interactions created by different cell types of plants and non-uniform distribution of microbes, which has been difficult to study with molecular details.

Pursuing this interest, Tatsuya embarked on a postdoc in Dr Joseph Ecker’s lab at the Salk Institute in San Diego as a fellow of the Human Frontier Science Program. The aim of his research project was to establish resources and technologies necessary for better resolving heterogeneity in plant-microbe interactions.

To do this, Tatsuya employed various single-cell omics and spatial omics technologies to analyse responses of individual plant cells during pathogen infection.

He also developed a new method called PHYTOMap to enable the multiplexed spatial analysis of gene expression in 3D whole-mount tissue.

In his new role as group leader at The Sainsbury Laboratory, Tatsuya is determined to make a positive impact on the research community in Norwich and the field of host-microbe interactions and plant science.

“My lab will employ cutting-edge technologies and create new methodologies to tackle important and unexplored questions in the MPMI field.” he says, “For example, I aspire to identify novel cell populations of plants and microbes and comprehend their functions with underlying gene regulatory mechanisms.”

Tatsuya is also eager to engineer specific cell populations of plants and microbes to precisely manipulate organism-level traits, which could have far-reaching implications for our basic understanding of life and next-generation crop breeding technologies.

Outside the realm of academia, Tatsuya enjoys exploring new coffee shops and being active. Equally important to him is quality time spent at home with his family, including their two adorable cats.

Prof. Nick Talbot, Executive Director of The Sainsbury Laboratory, says, “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Tatsuya Nobori to The Sainsbury Laboratory. Tatsuya is developing cutting-edge technologies and interdisciplinary approaches to study plant-microbe interactions. We are all excited by his new single cell genomics analyses, for example, and the novel insights they can provide into the cellular basis of plant immunity. Tatsuya has many new ideas and complementary expertise and will, I am sure, make important contributions to the science programme at TSL. We are really looking forward to him joining us.”

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