Molecular evolution of plant defence in wild tomato species

Understanding adaptation of plants to pathogens is of vital importance to create durable resistance in crops. Therefore, we are interested in understanding the evolution of pathogen resistance in relatively short time scales. We study different populations from a diverse and geographically differentiated tomato species, Solanum chilense. We have shown that populations show different levels of defence against a range of pathogens and also show patterns of differential selection for defence-associated genes. We now want to link these observation to the molecular defence mechanisms involved. In this project we test the differences in early defence responses between plants and try to identify the causal genes. This way we hopefully learn, not just more about the diversity of pathogen defence mechanisms in plants, but might also identify new genes underlying these responses.

This project is funded through SFB924

Pathogen evolution

SPiRaSOL: Sampling Phytophthora Infestans and Ralstonia spp from wild solanum

Besides getting a good understanding of how plants evolve to fend off their pathogens, it is equally important to understand how pathogens evolve to maintain their virulence on plants.
This small, exploratory project in collaboration with Dr. Philippe Prior and Dr. Hannele Lindqvist-Kreuze focuses on optimising sampling methods for two very important pathogens on potato and tomato in the field. We focus on sampling methods for various wild solanum species. Hopefully this will allow us to collect pathogen samples for future studies.

This project is funded through the Agropolis Fondation

Population genomics of Ramularia collo-cygni

Ramularia collo-cygni is a recently emerging pathogen on Barley. It has only been really notices as a pathogen  since the mid 1980s, partly due to the diffuculty to distinguish it in the field and because of its long latent phase.
This project in collaboration with Dr. Michael Heß, Prof. Ralph Hückelhoven, Dr. Martin Münsterkötter and Dr. Ulrich Güldener, aims at unraveling the genetic diversity of Ramularia collo-cygni in the field in order to understand which factors contribute to its recent emergence as a pathogen on Barley.

This project is in part funded through BayKlimaFit