Associate Professor Desislava Todorova, PhD

Building 21, Office 103
Phone.: +359-2-9792676

Personal page

Research area

  • Investigation of the role of phytohormones and growth regulators in plants under normal and stress conditions; application of biologically active substances for enhancement of the effectiveness of important physiological processes, growth and reproduction.
  • Research of oxidative stresses and possibilities for stress alleviation by application of plant growth regulators.
  • Modeling of plant growth regulators of synthetic and natural origin and study of the mechanisms of their physiological action; development of technologies for their application to improve the sustainability, productivity and quality of economically important crop plants and to preserve rare and endangered species.
  • Development of in vitro and innovative techniques/models (based on biotechnology, bioinformatics, genomics and nanotechnology) and their application in fundamental and applied research to study the genomic regulation of plant growth under normal and stress conditions; to increase the productivity; in alternative synthesis of substances for nutraceuticals; for expansion and preservation of the gene pool; for sustentation of the natural environment.

Selected research achievements

  • We have established the metabolic alterations of several groups of phytohormones and plant growth regulators during plant ontogenesis and under stress conditions.
  • New derivatives of dicarboxylic acids, salicylic acid, (thio) carbamate, heterocyclic compounds are synthesized. Their auxin, cytokinin, anti-cytokinin, anti-aging, anti-mutagenic, anti-phytoviral activity is investigated on cellular, tissue and organism level.

Synthesis of derivatives of salicylic acid. (Yonova 2010)

Synthesis of heterocyclic (thio)ureas with plant growth regulating activity. (Yonova, 2010)

  • Plant growth regulators (individual and formulations of several substances) are synthesized for regulation of growth, ripening rate and yield of economically important crops (wheat, barley, corn, sunflower, tomato, etc.).
  • Growth regulators of synthetic and natural origin (biopesticides) are invented and their protective activity against herbicides, chemical mutagens, salinization, pollution with heavy metals, gamma- and UV-radiation, phytopathogenes etc. is proven by monitoring of their effects on some plant defense mechanisms.
  • Function of plate meristems in post-embryonic growth and development of epigeal cotyledons is demonstrated. New protocol for study of the quantitative changes in cell growth and proliferation after endo- and exo-stimuli is developed.

Clusters formed at the end of the cell division in the first palisade layer of the central blade region in control cotyledons (a, 6th day) and in the cotyledons treated with cytokinins (10 µM) as follows: BA 4th day (b), Zeatin 6th day (c), Kinetin 6th day (d), 4PU-30 4th day (e). Dashed white lines highlight representative clusters. Bars =50 µm. (Stoynova-Bakalova and Petrov, 2006)

The effect of different cytokinins on cotyledon area (top) and cell division (bottom), measured after the end of cell division. (Stoynova-Bakalova and Petrov, 2006)

  • Protocols for regeneration, micropropagation and long-term organogenic calluses and cultures аrе developed. In vitro cultures of pea, soybean, golden root and other important agricultural and medicinal plants are obtained. The ability of in vitro cultures to synthesize substances with antioxidant and protective properties are demonstrated.

Induced rhizogenesis and propagation in Rh. rosea regenerated plants on MS medium enriched with 2.0 mg/L IBA, 0.2 mg/L IAA, and 0.4 mg/L GA3 (Tasheva and Kosturkova, 2010)

  • The morphogenetic potential of newly developed Pisum sativum and Glycine max varieties and lines is determined in vitro, and based on this test systems for in vitro screening of genotypes with increased resistance to abiotic and biotic stress factors are developed.
  • New approaches and models beyond the barriers of the traditional breeding are developed and suitable starting material for sustainable agriculture, pharmaceutical and food industries, and environmental protection is obtained by genetic and in vitro manipulations.

More than 50 investigations are patented in Bulgaria and abroad.

 Organized international scientific events

The first international symposium held in the Institute was organized by the Department Regulation of Plant Growth and Development (International Symposium on Plant Stimulation, 25-30.10.1966, Sofia). The symposia were held on a regular basis until 1995 (1975, 1981, 1986, 1995). Scientists from our Department have played leading roles as chairpersons or members of the scientific and organizing committees in all subsequent scientific events organized by the Institute (XI Congress of FESPP 1998; ESSA 2002; PISA 2006 and PISA 2008).

Current research projects

  • Oxidative stress in economically important plant species and possibilities for its alleviation by application of ecologically friendly substances – National Science Fund. Duration 2011-2013. Project leader: Dessislava Todorova, Assistant Professor, PhD. Partners: Institute of organic chemistry with centre of phytochemistry – BAS, Institute of biophysics and Biomedical Engineering – BAS.
  • Application of biotechnological and bioinformatics methods to produce in vitro biomass from the endangered medicinal plant Rhodiola rosea (golden root), and to increase the production of biologically active substances – National Science Fund. Duration 2011-2013. Project leader: Krasimira Tasheva, Assistant Professor, PhD. Partners: Institute of organic chemistry with centre of phytochemistry – BAS, Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics – Sofia University.
  • Hormonal regulation in higher plants under abiotic stress– Bilateral cooperation IPPG – BAS and IEB – CAS. Project leader: Lyubomira Atanasova, Associate Professor, PhD. Partner: Institute of Experimental Botany – Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic.
  • Harnessing plant reproduction for crop improvement. EC COST ACTION FA0903. Duration 2011-2013. Coordinator: Georgina Kosturkova, Associate Professor, PhD, MC member. Partners: 10 countries (Italy, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Belgium, Great Britain, France, Czech Republic, Bulgaria).
  • Study and optimization of the biological activity of synthetic and natural plant growth regulators. Mechanisms of stress-induced changes and enhanced sustainability of different plant species to diverse abiotic stress factors by plant growth regulators, allelopathy, etc. Duration 2009-2012. Project leader: Vera Alexieva, Professor, PhD.
  • In vivo and in vitro study of biotic and abiotic stress, development of innovative methods for overcoming of stresses and for protection of the natural environment. Duration: 2010–2013. Project leader: Georgina Kosturkova, Associate Professor, PhD.
  • Influence of stress on metabolites with nutritional value and protective function of Indian and Bulgarian soybean genotypes obtained by biotechnology and genetic methods – National Science Fund. Project leader: Georgina Kosturkova, Associate Professor, PhD.

Research team

Desislava Todorova, Associate Professor, PhD

Office 124, Lab. 103
Phone: +359-2-979-2676 or 2693
Professional interests: Plant growth regulators, polyamines, phytohormones, plant stress.

Vera Alexieva, Professor, PhD

Office 124, Lab. 125
Phone: +359-2-979-2694 or 2693
Professional interests: Plant physiology, natural and synthetic plant growth regulators, cytokinins, herbicides, polyamines.

Georgina Kosturkova, Associate Professor, PhD

Office, Lab. 324
Phone: +359-2-979-3675 or 2624
Professional interests: Induction of organogenesis, somatic embryogenesis and regeneration. Modeling of biotic and abiotic stresses in vitro, test systems and screening of resistance. Genetic manipulations and transformation, mutagenesis and somaclonal variation. Application of biotechnology methods in sustainable agriculture, ecology, nutraceuticals, nanotechnology and bioinformatics.

Iskren Sergiev, Associate Professor, PhD

Office 119, Lab. 105
Phone: +359-2-979-2698 or 2694
Professional interests: Synthetic plant growth regulators, phytohormones, cytokinins, herbicides, plant stress.

Zornitsa Katerova, Assistant Professor, PhD

Office 124, Lab. 103
Phone: +359-2-979-2676 or 2689
Professional interests: Plant stress, UV-stress, polyamines.

Krasimira Tasheva, Assistant Professor, PhD

Офис, Лаб. 324
Phone: +359-2-979-2698 or 2624
Professional interests: In vitro and genetic manipulations, plant development, micropropagation, epigenetic regulation, secondary metabolites production, bioinformatics, medicinal and endangered plants, crops.

Irina Moskova, Assistant Professor, PhD

Office 301, Lab. 105
Phone: +359-2-979-2694
Professional interests: Plant stress, herbicides, plant growth regulators.

Elena Shopova, Assistant Professor, PhD

Office 301, Lab. 103
Phone: +359-2-979-2694 or 2620
Professional interests: abiotic and biotic stress, oxidative stress, antioxidants, herbicides.

Asya Nikolova, Agronomist, MSc

Lab. 105
Phone: +359-2-979-2679
Professional interests: Plant growth regulators, plant stress.

Margarita Dimitrova, Engineer-ecologist, MSc

Lab. 324
Phone: +359-2-979-2624
Professional interests: In vitro manipulations, micropropagation, in vitro mutagenesis, cell selection, abiotic stress, biotechnology for sustainable environment.

Valentina Kasabova, Biologist, MSc

Lab. 125
Phone: +359-2-979-3673
Professional interests: Plant growth regulators, plant stress, biopesticides.

Selected publications

To Selected publications of the Department

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Phone: +359 2 8728170
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