Plant pathology and microbiology – University of Copenhagen

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Plant Pathology and Microbiology

This group gathers PLEN expertise in mycology, plant molecular biology and plant pathology, and boasts a unique position for Denmark in basic and applied science of plant-microbe interactions.

The academic focus of this new research group concerns the interactions of microorganisms, primarily fungi, with plants. Fungal interactions with plants have evolved over the past 400-million years in many ways, ranging from the beneficial to the pathogenic. Fungi come into contact with plants via the air and soil or can be transmitted through seed. Our academic focus extends to pathogenic fungi and plant defences, with an emphasis how to best utilise fungal antagonists for biological control in agricultural systems. Our new projects specialise in endophytic fungal interactions, which stand to uncover defining principles in crop protection and plant tolerances across a wide range of biotic and abiotic stresses.

Our research further looks to investigate how fungi and plants interact and manipulate each other resulting in different lifestyles ranging from biotrophic, hemibiotrophic and necrotrophic pathogenic interactions through commensal endophytic and rhizospheric interactions.

We combine genomics and transcriptomics assays and marker / reporter gene technologies with advanced chemical analyses. We employ innovative isolation procedures to obtain microorganisms with optimal performance in different plant environments. Applications of the knowledge gained include plant growth stimulation and biological control by microorganisms, plant extracts and input to the development of transgenic disease resistance in agricultural and horticultural settings.

The group has established close collaborations with other leading PLEN research groups in biochemistry and plant science, and has an extensive international network, especially through leading and participating in two European programmes, namely the Marie Curie Early Training Networks (ETN), BestPass (http://bestpass.ku.dk/) and CerealPath (http://cerealpath.eu/), respectively.

Projects