Doctor Eric Brenya


Graduated PhD 2020

Thesis Title

Elucidating thigmomorphogenesis: An epigenetic phenomenon of mechanical stress acclimation in plants.

Research project

Eric BrenyaThe forces imposed by mechanical stimulation (MS) such as touch, strong winds and heavy rains are natural ubiquitous stressful stimuli perceived by plants. Repetitive MS of plants activates molecular and physiological processes that alter plant anatomy and morphology to facilitate acclimation to environmental stresses; a process called thigmomorphogenesis. These architectural changes due to repetitive MS are influenced by secondary messenger molecules, gene expression and phytohormone regulation.

MS primes pathogen and insect defense across a generation, and promote cross-acclimation to drought, salinity and extreme temperature change. Through epigenetic memory formation processes, organisms can remember prolonged changes in the environment and confer some stress memory to the next generation without affecting their DNA coding sequence. My research objectives are to investigate (1) the molecular mechanisms underlying how epigenetic processes such as histone modification, DNA methylation and RNA gene silencing  regulate responses to MS, prime plant tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, and (2) to investigate how/ if MS induced responses  are transgenerational.

Research gate profile: (opens in a new window)

Research supervisors

Dr. Christopher Cazzonelli, Prof. David Tissue, Dr. Zhonghua Chen


Anwar S, Brenya E, Alagoz Y, Cazzonelli CI, (2021) 'Epigenetic control of carotenogenesis during plant development', Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, vol.40, no.1, pp 23-48

Brenya E, Chen Z-H, Tissue D, Papanicolaou A, Cazzonelli CI, (2020) 'Prior exposure of Arabidopsis seedlings to mechanical stress heightens jasmonic acid-mediated defense against necrotrophic pathogens', BMC Plant Biology, vol.20, no.1, Article no.548

Brenya E, Trusov Y, Dietzgen RG, Botella JR, (2016) 'Heterotrimeric G-proteins facilitate resistance to plant pathogenic viruses in Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh', Plant Signaling & Behavior, vol.11, no.8, e1212798

Maruta N, Trusov Y, Brenya E, Parekh U, Botella JR, (2015) 'Membrane-localized extra-large G-proteins and Gβγ of the heterotrimeric G-proteins forms functional complexes engaged in plant immunity in Arabidopsis', Plant Physiology, vol.167, pp 1004–1016

Oppong-Sekyere D, Akromah R, Nyamah EY, Brenya E, Yeboah S, (2011) 'Characterization of okra (Abelmoschus spp. L.) germplasm based on morphological characters in Ghana', Journal of Plant Breeding and Crop Science, vol.3, no.13, pp 367-378

Nyadanu D, Adomako B, Assuah MK, Asiamah YO, Brenya E, Adu-Ampomah Y, (2011) 'Analysis of Reaction to Phytophthora palmivora Infection among the International Clone Trial Selections of Cocoa in Ghana', International Journal of  Plant Breeding and Genetics, vol.5, no.4, pp 286-301