On February 10th 1917 the first female professor in the Netherlands, Johanna Westerdijk, held her inaugural speech at Utrecht University. She became professor in Phytopathology, currently the Plant-Microbe Interactions chair group.



Plant-Microbe Interactions

Part of the Institute of Environmental biology

In nature, plants are attacked by a multitude of pathogens and pests that can cause major crop losses in agriculture. To protect themselves, plants can activate a sophisticated immune system. Moreover, they recruit beneficial microbes to their root system that help them to grow better and boost immune responses. The Plant-Microbe Interactions group aims to unravel at the molecular level how the plant immune system orchestrates interactions with beneficial microbes, pathogens and insects. This provides a rational basis for developing sustainable strategies for disease resistance in next-generation crops that produce more with less input of fertilizers or pesticides.


Corné Pieterse



Mechanisme ontdekt dat natuurlijke afweer van planten versterkt
7 February 2017
Een overzicht van 100 jaar Fytopathologie in Utrecht en haar bijdrage aan belangrijke maatschappelijke problemen zoals voedselzekerheid.
13 December 2016
Joint UU-WUR effort for a National Plant Eco-Phenotyping Centre
17 November 2016
Build fundamental knowledge and bring it from the university into the field.




Johanna Westerdijk (zittend links) in gezelschap van vier mannen aan een tafeltje in café Eik en Linde te Amsterdam. (c) Schuitvlot, Nico - Collectie IAV - Atria, kennisinstituut voor emancipatie en vrouwengeschiedenis.
30 June 2017 14:00 - 19:45
A symposium, with BBQ, on Johanna Westerdijk, plant pathology and phytopathogenic fungi