Our current group members

Stéphanie Robert, professor

I received my PhD at Paris XI University-Orsay, France in 2005, which was followed by two postdoc positions, the first at University of California, Riverside, USA and the second at VIB-Ghent University, Belgium.
I set up my lab at Umeå Plant Science Centre in 2010. As a professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, I am involved in teaching at both Bachelor and Master levels and I am responsible for the microscopy facility at Umeå Plant Science Centre as well as being in charge of the smooth running of all the labs at our department. However, the majority of my working time is spent on research, together with my group members and collaborators.
In my free time I love photography, baking and crafting.

Siamsa Doyle, staff scientist

I received my PhD in 2010 at University College Dublin, Ireland.
I joined the Robert group in 2010, shortly after Stéphanie set up her lab at Umeå Plant Science Centre. In previous years in the group, I have focused on the roles of endomembrane trafficking, auxin transport and auxin signalling on the regulation of root responses to gravity in Arabidopsis and adventitious rooting in poplar. More recently, I have shifted my focus towards unraveling the roles of auxin gradients, cell wall components and molecular signalling events in regulating the fascinating jigsaw puzzle shape of leaf epidermal pavement cells in Arabidopsis and poplar.
In my spare time I enjoy singing, dancing lindy hop and hanging out with my two small kids.

Sara Raggi, staff scientist

I completed my PhD in 2016 at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. During my PhD, I also spent 6 months at Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin-INRA, Versailles, France, funded by a short-term EMBO fellowship.
I joined the Robert group in 2016. I study the role of the cuticle during apical hook development in Arabidopsis seedlings. Furthermore, I investigate the interplay between the cuticle and phytohormones in this developmental context.
In my free time I like listening to music, playing games and doing DIY projects.

Sandeep Yadav, postdoc

I received my PhD in 2019 at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. During my PhD, I worked at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research, which was followed by a postdoc position at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India.
I joined the Robert group in 2022. I study the role of cell wall components in cell shape acquisition mechanisms in the leaf epidermal pavement cells of Arabidopsis.
In my free time I like listening to music, exploring nature, and playing with my kids.

Hemamshu Ratnakaram, PhD student
I completed my Masters in Science at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Thiruvananthapuram in 2022, majoring in Biology with a minor in Physics. I enjoy getting into the mechanical details of how things work, be it assemblies of cogs or cells, pistons or proteins.
In 2023 I joined the group as a lab assistant, and later that year became a PhD student, and I am taking part in ongoing research into the role of the plant cuticle in developmental processes in the plant.
Outside of having fun exploring how and why plants grow and develop the way they do, and picking my colleagues’ brains trying to come to grips with experimental techniques and strategies, I also have fun exploring music: from Kygo and Zara Larsson to Feng Suave and Brahny. Always up for conversations, cycling and cooking.

Vinod Kumar, postdoc
I received my PhD in 2020 at CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute (CSIR-NBRI), India. After my PhD, I worked as a postdoc at the CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT), India for two years.
I joined the Robert group in 2023. I am currently involved in elucidating the role of inner cell layers in regulating the pavement cell shape of leaf epidermis in Arabidopsis.
I like nature photography, listening to songs, and playing chess and badminton.

Adrien Heymans, postdoc
I completed my PhD at UCLouvain in Belgium in 2022, followed by two short post-docs at UCLouvain.
In 2023, I began a new chapter in my research journey, joining forces with the two teams of Stéphanie Robert and Stéphane Verger, within the Umeå Plant Science Centre. Building upon my previous experiences in the “in silico” realm, my current post-doctoral project centers around unraveling the intricate relationship between epidermal cells and their superstructures in response to various mechanical stressors.
Beyond the lab, I like to hike through nature’s wonders.

Current project students

No project students at present.

Our former group members

Former postdocs and PhD students

2019-2022: François Jobert, postdoc
– now research engineer at the University of Picardie Jules Verne, France.
2020-2021: Petra Marhava, postdoc
– now has her own lab at Umeå Plant Science Centre, SLU, Sweden (link).
2019-2021: Ying Wang, postdoc.
2019-2021: Zahra Rahneshan, postdoc.
2017-2021: Sijia Liu, postdoc
– now has her own lab at Shenyang Agricultural University, China.
2015-2018: Peter Grones, postdoc
– now has his own lab at Wageningen University, The Netherlands (link).
2013-2018: Mateusz Majda, PhD student
– now has his own lab at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland (link).
2013-2015: Deepak Kumar Barange, postdoc
– now research scientist at Colorado State University, USA.
2012-2018: Qian Ma, postdoc
– now research scientist at Ghent University, Belgium (link).
2012-2016: Adeline Rigal, postdoc.
2011-2016: Thomas Vain, PhD student.
2010-2012: Ash Haeger, postdoc
– now clinical scientist at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK.

Former project students

2023: Tanguy Mouton.
2022: Dimitri Ducrocq.
2021: Pauline Delobel; Cécile Perrollaz.
2020: David Radianu; Amritha Nagendra Prasad.

2016: Filip Buchel; Aisha Beshirova; Anna Oravetzová.
2014: Barbora Pařízková.
2013: Vanessa Schmidt; Adeline David; Lennard van der Woude.
2012: Laetitia Ameglio; Emeline Griveaux; Marie-Line Faucillion.
2011: Małgorzata Łangowska; Marcus Andersson.