Prof. Guido Van den Ackerveken’s goal is to build fundamental knowledge on plant diseases and bring it from the university into the field, with the help of green life science companies. “We study plants and pathogens to understand how diseases works; they apply it in real life.” Van den Ackerveken was appointed Professor of Translational Plant & Microbial Biology on 1 November 2016.
Prof. Van den Ackerveken has plenty of experience in the valorisation of his scientific work. He gained international renown with his research into plant diseases caused by oomycetes: fungi-like microorganisms, such as downy mildew pathogens, which are able to avoid crop immune systems. He deciphered the genetic foundations of plant susceptibility to these pathogens.
Based on the fundamental knowledge gained through his research, he developed a technology to grow crops that are resistant to downy mildew, called DMR technology. In 2007, he and his team were presented with a prestigious award for their work, the Leverhulme Technology Transfer Award. He also has two patents to his name. “The vegetable breeding company Enza Zaden aquired the patents and is now developing resistant vegetable crops without the need for a GMO approach. We work closely together with them, and hopefully within a few years seeds with our DMR technology will reach the market”, Van den Ackerveken explains.