Our research focuses on understanding the plant immune system and its interaction with growth and physiology. This is an important target of crop improvement. The research is based not only on the model organism for Brassicaceae - Arabidopsis thaliana - but also on lettuce, which is an emerging model organism for the largest family of plants - Asteraceae. The specific research directions are:
- Identification and characterisation of immune receptors recognising plant pathogens
- Transcriptional and growth responses to the plant defence hormone salicylic acid (SA)
- Identification of new factors regulating growth-defence trade-off
We also look into the conservation of immune system architecture by studying signalling from plant immune receptors sharing similarities with Toll-like receptors of animals (TIR domains) and conserved regulators of immunity such as the EDS1 family. We use a range of research methods such as genome-wide association mapping, large-scale RNAseq profiling, proteomics, CRISPR/Cas mutagenesis, cell biotechnology, targeted chromatin purification and phylogenetic analyses.
The above research questions are investigated in the public-private consortium LettuceKnow and seed project Accelerated Crop Genetics (grant from Alliance EWUU University of Technology Eindhoven, Wageningen University, Utrecht University, UMC Utrecht; 2023).I love interacting with students in the laboratory or lecture halls and enjoy teaching different courses from the biology curriculum.
Feel free to reach out if you want to learn more about our activities or contribute to them. We offer diverse opportunities for BSc and MSc research internships and are happy to support you in applications for personal fellowships and grants.