Our research is focused on interactions between plants, microbes and insect herbivores. Plants live in complex environments in which they intimately interact with a broad range of pathogenic and beneficial micro-organisms.
Our research is focused on interactions between plants, microbes and insect herbivores. Plants live in complex environments in which they intimately interact with a broad range of pathogenic and beneficial micro-organisms. World-wide, pathogenic microbes and insect herbivores cause major crop losses. However, plants are not helpless, as – like animals – they possess a sophisticated innate immune system that protects them against the majority of their attackers. Moreover, plants recruit beneficial microbes to their root microbiome that promote plant growth and stimulate the plant immune system. The research of the PMI group aims to explore the plant’s natural immune system and to investigate how beneficial microbes in the rhizosphere microbiome stimulate plant growth and health. By investigating molecular and ecological aspects of plant innate immunity and rhizosphere biology, the PMI group aims to gain knowledge on how plants are able to cope with often hostile changes in their environment, and to utilize this knowledge for the development of novel strategies for (biological) crop protection. The research goals are being achieved by using the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana and several crop species in combination with state-of-the-art techniques and methods in phytopathology, microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, genomics and bioinformatics.
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