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Department of Plant Sciences



Chiara joined the lab in 2014 to investigate the evolution of the MYB-bHLH-WD40 (MBW) transcriptional complex. Before joining the lab Chiara held a Marie Curie and BBSRC ERA-PG Post Doctoral fellowships with Brendan Davies at the University of Leeds. She completed her studies at the University of Milan where she obtained her PhD working with Lucia Colombo and Martin Kater.

During her PhD and Post Doctoral fellowships Chiara worked on transcription factors involved in several aspects of flower development and flowering. While studying plant development she developed an interest in evolution. She continued to work on transcription factors and evolution during her first postdoc in Cambridge.

Her current project investigates the development of petals in Hibiscus trionum. The epidermis of the  purple region of these flowers has ridges that creates a diffraction grating. The peculiar type of iridescence produced by these petals is visible to pollinators. Through the analysis of mutants and WT plants Chiara is trying to identify molecular, chemical and mechanical processes involved in the development of petal ridges.


Key publications: 

C. Chen, C. A. Airoldi, C. A. Lugo, R. K. Bay, B. J. Glover, A. J. Crosby. Flower Inspiration: Broad‐Angle Structural Color through Tunable Hierarchical Wrinkles in Thin Film Multilayers. Advanced Functional Materials. October (2020).

CA. Airoldi, TJ. Hearn, SF. Brockington, AAR Webb & BJ Glover. TTG1 proteins regulate circadian activity as well as epidermal cell fate and pigmentation. Nature Plants. Volume 5, pages1145–1153(2019).

CA Airoldi, J Ferria, BJ Glover. The cellular and genetic basis of structural colour in plants. Current opinion in plant biology. 47, 81-87.

K Kaufmann, CA Airoldi. Master Regulatory Transcription Factors in Plant Development: A Blooming Perspective. Plant Transcription Factors, 3-22.

Airoldi CA, McKay M, Davies B. MAF2 Is Regulated by Temperature-Dependent Splicing and Represses Flowering at Low Temperatures in Parallel with FLM. PLoS One. 2015 May 8;10(5):e0126516.

Glover BJ, Airoldi CA, Brockington SF, Fernández-Mazuecos M, Martínez-Pérez C, Mellers G, Moyroud E, Taylor L. How have advances in our understanding of flower development influenced our understanding of floral evolution? Int. J. Plant Sci. 2015 Apr 176(4):000–000.

Airoldi CA, Davies B. Gene duplication and the evolution of MADS-box transcription factorsJ. Genet. Genomics. 2012 Apr 20;39(4):157-65.

Airoldi CA, Bergonzi S, Davies B. Single amino acid change alters the ability to specify male or female organ identity. PNAS. 2010 Nov 2;107(44):18898-902.

Bemer M, Heijmans K, Airoldi C, Davies B, Angenent GC. An atlas of type I MADS box gene expression during female gametophyte and seed development in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 2010 Sep;154(1):287-300.

Airoldi CA. Determination of sexual organ development. Sex Plant Reprod. 2010 Mar;23(1):53-62.

Airoldi CA, Della Rovere F, Falasca G, Marino G, Kooiker M, Altamura MM, Citterio S, Kater MM. The Arabidopsis BET bromodomain factor GTE4 is involved in maintenance of the mitotic cell cycle during plant development. Plant Physiol. 2010 Mar;152(3):1320-34.

Kaufmann K, Muiño JM, Jauregui R, Airoldi CA, Smaczniak C, Krajewski P, Angenent GC. Target genes of the MADS transcription factor SEPALLATA3: integration of developmental and hormonal patways in the Arabidopsis flower. PLoS Biol. 2009 Apr 21;7(4):e1000090.

Kooiker M, Airoldi CA, Losa A, Manzotti PS, Finzi L, Kater MM, Colombo L. BASIC PENTACYSTEINE1, a GA binding protein that induces conformational changes in the regulatory region of the homeotic Arabidopsis gene SEEDSTICK. Plant Cell. 2005 Mar;17(3):722-9.

Post Doctoral Research Associate
Dr Chiara  Airoldi

Contact Details

Email address: 
Department of Plant Sciences,
University of Cambridge,
Downing Street,
01223 333934