Guido van den Ackerveken

At the TPB group we work in the field of translational plant biology. Translational here refers to the translation of scientific knowledge into application; in our case, from fundamental research on plants to application in crop breeding. We focus our research on plant architecture and disease resistance and susceptibility, and how this is influenced by environmental factors. These are important topics in the context of climate change and sustainable food production.

In order to translate knowledge about the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana into practice, we are also working on a number of important crops such as potato, lettuce, spinach and tulip. In our research we combine molecular biology, genetics, genome editing and physiology with high throughput technology, such as transcriptomics, genomics, metabolomics, and phenotyping.

With regard to growth and development, our focus is on the above-ground architecture of the plant (dr. Marcel Proveniers). This not only determines the ultimate yield of a crop, but a certain architecture can also bring an adaptive advantage, for example with regard to climate change.

In the research on susceptibility and resistance to diseases, we study the immune system of crops, susceptibility genes of the plant that contribute to infection, but also the properties of pathogens that are necessary to cause disease (Guido van den Ackerveken and Dmitry Lapin). An important new line of research is aimed at understanding the so-called growth-immunity trade-off; how do plants balance defense versus growth and how do they restore their growth and development after pathogens have been successfully repelled.

The use of genome technology, such as genome editing and targeted changes in the epigenome (DNA methylation) is now being set up in our group (Jason Gardiner). This synthetic biology approach will provide TPB research with new input.