Microbial Interactions in Plant Ecosystems
Eric did his PhD in cell biology and phytopathology at the University of Konstanz where he discovered the first fungal effector protein delivered into host plants. Joining the group of Jonathan Jones at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK, he established sequencing and computational techniques to analyze fungal and oomycete genomes. In 2012, Eric became a research group leader at the MPI for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, focusing with his group on microbe-microbe and plant-microbe interactions. An important finding was the discovery of ‘microbial hubs’ that link microbial communities to the host genotype. Since 2017, Eric is Professor at the University of Tübingen combining computational modelling with ecology and host/microbe genetics to discover novel mechanisms in complex microbial community assembly and stability.
Juliana comes from Colombia and did her studies in Lyon (France) where she completed her PhD on microbial ecology. Juliana is fascinated by the plant microbiome and her research is driven by fundamental questions like: how much does the plant microbiome affect fitness-relevant plant traits like nutrient acquisition and health? What are the main microbial taxa behind these effects? By which functions are they acting and how are these functions regulated? Her work has mostly focused on root-associated microbial communities involved in plant disease-suppression (during her PhD) and in plant P-uptake facilitation (during her first post-doc at the University of Cologne). After a research stay at the MPI for Plant Breeding Research, she moved to the University of Tübingen. She is now studying microbial networks in A. thaliana phyllosphere and their dynamics in space and in time.
Arianes research centers on mechanisms used by microbes for inter- or cross-kingdom communication. After completing her PhD studies where she had unrevealed the function of amyloid-like effector proteins in rust fungi, Ariane investigated the host-microbe dialogue focusing on effector-receptor proteins and metabolites, both conferring broad spectrum disease resistances. Her postdoctoral stays at JIC, TSL and MPIPZ enabled here both to follow her topics of interest and to establish new methods for deeper insights into interkingdom communication. In her current projects, Ariane is studying the impact of host genes on the composition of the phyllosphere microbiota with the aim to understand the role of amyloid proteins in the modulation of host-microbe and inter-microbial dialogue.
Paul studied plant biotechnology at the Leibniz University of Hannover and did his master thesis in Jane Parker`s lab. He started his PhD in the beginning of 2017 as a joined project between the group of Jane Parker at the MPIPZ and the Kemen group. His research focuses on the effect of local adaptations on the microbiota structure in the Arabidopsis phyllosphere. To do so, he performs high-throughput sequencing as well as reconstitution biology approaches.
People (currently at the MPIPZ in Cologne)
Ronny is intrigued by the diversity of plant-associated microbes and his aim is to understand how pathogenic, biotrophic and opportunistic microbes adapt and speciate together in plants. Before joining the group, Ronny studied different plant-pathogen model systems focusing on (1) evolution and specificity of the pheromone-receptor system in grass smuts, (2) transcriptional profiling of accessory chromosomes in the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici and (3) genome evolution after host jump in the oomycetes Phytophthora infestans and Hyaloperonospora crispula. In his current project Ronny studies the basidiomycete Thecaphora thlaspeos, that adapted to Brassicaceae hosts and develops a long-lived and intimate interaction with Arabis sp. and Arabidopsis thaliana. He aims to evaluate the capacity of T. thlaspeos to shape host-specific microbial communities using field sampling, cultivation, amplicon sequencing and community analysis approaches.
Samuel studied Molecular Biology at the University of Göttingen. In 2014, he joined our Lab as a PhD student. His main research interests are the underlying microbe-microbe and host-microbe interactions, which determine evolutionary triggers leading to a switch in relationships between plants and microbes. Therefore, he is using high throughput amplicon and genome sequencing.
Alfredo terminated his studies in Industrial Biotechnology at University of Pisa/Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy, with a molecular biology master thesis achieved at University of Turin. He began his PhD in 2014 and he is interested in leaf eukaryotic microbiome, and his interaction with plant pathogens in Arabidopsis thaliana, using both cultivation and meta-transcriptomics approach.
Former Lab Members
Researcher in the group from 2012 to 2016
Now junior group leader at the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany
PhD student and researcher in the group from 2012 to 2017
Now senior scientist at Yara