Welcome to the website of the Plant-Microbe Interactions (PMI) group of the Institute of Environmental Biology. Our research is focused on interactions between plants and micro-organisms. Plants live in complex environments in which they intimately interact with a broad range of pathogenic and beneficial micro-organisms. The research of the PMI group aims to explore and exploit the plant's natural immune system. By investigating molecular and ecological aspects of plant innate immunity, 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 ecology-based or sustainable agriculture. The research goals are being achieved by using the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana in combination with state-of-the-art techniques and methods in phytopathology, microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, genomics and bioinformatics. Click here to view our video.
Phytopathology (Corné Pieterse, Peter Bakker, Saskia van Wees)
The research programme of the Phytopathology group is focussing on interactions between pathogenic and non-pathogenic micro-organisms and plants. The following topics are central in our research:
- Induced systemic resistance (ISR)
- Priming for enhanced defense
- Modulation of host immunity by beneficial microbes
- Hormonal crosstalk between pathogen and insect resistance signaling pathways
- Biological control
Plant-Microbe Genetics (Guido Van den Ackerveken)
The molecular processes at the interface of host and pathogen determine if a plant is resistant or susceptible. Our group aims to identify the molecular players in this process and to understand their function.
Mycorrhiza Ecology (Marcel van der Heijden)
The 450 million year old symbiosis between the majority of land plants and mycorrhizal fungi is one of the most ancient, abundant and ecologically important plant-microbe mutualism on Earth. We investigate the impact of these important plant symbionts on plant growth and ecosystem functioning.