Dr. Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso

Dr. Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso


I am Associate Professor at the School of Biology/FBS and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow. During postdoctoral stays at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (New York, USA) and at the John Innes Centre (JIC) (Norwich, UK), I gained extensive experience in plant, cell and molecular biology applied to investigate the regulation of intercellular symplastic communication. As a group leader, I pursue the cross-disciplinary aspect of my research through active collaborations with the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Astbury Centre for Structural Biology, the Braggs Centre for Material Research and GFEI at Leeds. My work has produced papers of high academic impact. Research in my lab was/is funded by EPSRC, The Royal Society, UKRI and Leverhulme Trust. I have also received industrial and impact funding to work with diverse industrial stakeholders.

I have published pioneering work on callose metabolism and function in the regulation of plasmodesmata and symplastic signalling (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. (2009) 106,3615-20; Dev. Cell. (2013) 26,136-47; Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. (2013) 110,9166-70; Frontiers Plant Sci. (2014) 23 (5):212). I also collaborated in addressing the plasmodesmata proteome and membrane composition (PLoS ONE (2011) 6,e18880; Plant Cell (2015) 27, 1228-1250) and the relations between symplastic and apoplastic loading (Plant Physiology (2016) 172,1876–1898). These publications had significant impact on the scientific community and were highly reccomended by Faculty 1000. More recently, my work (funded by the Leverhulme Trust) focuses on dissecting the physico-mechanical properties of structural component at plasmodesmata domain and the function of β-1,3-glucan, callose, and cellulose as regulators of cell walls and intercellular signalling.


  • Future Leaders Fellow (UKRI)
  • Deputy Admission tutor School of Biology
  • Module manager

Research interests

Our research aims to reveal the molecular factors regulating plant development and response to the environment, which can be applied in the development of strategies that underpin crop improvement and enhanced agricultural sustanability. Current projects focus in the regulation of plant microchannels (called Plasmodesmata) that connect the cytoplasm of neighboring cells; to communicate proteins (e.g. transcription factors), RNAs and other macromolecules that coordinate development and response to biotic and abiotic cues. 

We apply a number of genetic and cell biology tools and resources to identify how plasmodesmata communication influences plant growth and also use cross-disciplinaries approaches (soft polymer physics, computational modelling etc)  to understand the influence of cell wall components and mechanical properties on intercellular molecular flux. We also design strategies to explot the properties of these cell wall polymers in biomaterial development. For more info please consult benitezalfonso@wordpress.ac.uk

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD
  • HEA fellow

Professional memberships

  • EPSRC peer review college member
  • American Society of Plant Biologists
  • Spanish Researchers in UK
  • BBNet
  • IBCarb
  • GARNet
  • BBSRC panel member
  • Section editor journal Plants
  • Consulting Editor journal eLife
  • Advisory board for 'New Phytologist'

Student education

Studentship information

Module manager for BLGY2132 (Adv. Practical Skills Genetics). 

Teaching in BLGY3173 (Plant Growth, Resources & Food) and BLGY112801 (Living Planet)

Supervising UG project students and Msc projects. 

See also:

Research groups and institutes

  • Plant Science
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1670-untangling-the-role-of-beta-1,3-glucan-polymers-in-intercellular-communication">Untangling the role of beta-1,3 glucan polymers in intercellular communication</a></li>