Dr. Olga Makarova

Olga Makarova

Rolff Group - Evolutionary Biology

Institute of Biology

Freie Universität Berlin

Postdoc

Address Königin-Luise-Straße 1-3
14195 Berlin
Telephone +49 30 838-54884
Fax +49 30 838-461356
Email olga.makarova@fu-berlin.de

2012-present: Post-doctoral Research Associate, Evolutionary Biology, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

2009-2012: PhD Plant Science, Aarhus University, Denmark and visiting researcher, John Innes Centre, UK.

2008-2009: Marie Curie Research Fellow, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal

2002-2007: Diploma Plant Genetics, Russian State Agrarian University, Moscow, Russia

In arms race between hosts and pathogens is one of the most dynamic and fascinating phenomena in nature, as well as one of the most powerful forces of natural selection. How do immune systems of complex organisms evolve to resist infections and how do pathogens manage to overcome host defences? What are the workings of host-pathogen interactions? All these are the questions I am genuinely interested in. Originally a plant biologist, I became interested in host-pathogen interactions while studying plant resistance genes during my diploma project. I then went on to study host-pathogen interactions from the pathogen’s perspective. For my PhD, I studied host adaptation and effector biology of cell wall-less bacteria phytoplasmas – pathogens of plants and insects. These interdisciplinary studies, which involved expertise in three unrelated organisms – plants, bacteria and insects, paved the way to the exciting field of insect immunity, where I am currently in.

I have recently joined the ERC-funded project ‘‘Multidrug’ resistance and the evolutionary ecology of insect immunity’, which aims to understand how insects manage evolution of bacterial resistance. More specifically, within this project, I focus on insect antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and evolution of bacterial resistance to AMPs. This will help understand why evolution of bacterial resistance to AMPs is extremely rare in nature and how S. aureus responds to a multidrug environment.


Makarova, O., Contaldo, N., Paltrinieri, S., Bertaccini, A., Nyskjold, H., and Nicolaisen, M. 2012. DNA bar-coding for phytoplasma identification. Book chapter in: Phytoplasma. Methods and Protocols. Springer Protocols. Methods in Molecular Biology Series vol. 938. Dickinson & Hodgetts (Eds.) Humana Press. ISBN 978-1-62703-088-5

MacLean, A. M., Sugio, A., Makarova, O.V., Findlay, K. C., Grieve, V. M., Tóth, R., Nicolaisen, M., and Hogenhout, S. A. 2011. Phytoplasma effector SAP54 induces indeterminate leaf-like flower development in Arabidopsis plants. Plant Physiology (157): 831-841.

Makarova, O., MacLean, A. M., Hogenhout, S. A., and Nicolaisen, M. 2011. Use of quantitative real time PCR for a genome-wide study of AYWB phytoplasma gene expression in plant and insect hosts. Bulletin of Insectology (64): S23-S24.