Group picture, October 2020


Remco Stam

Remco has done his Bsc and MSc in Wageningen (The Netherlands), during this time he has done a project with the Plant Breeding group and he also worked for the DuRPH project, aimed at breeding Durable Resistance against PHytophthora. He has done his MSc thesis at the Plant Chemetics lab, which at that time was located at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Science in Cologne (Germany), and is now based at Oxford University and has worked for about one year in the Kamoun Lab, at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, studying the evolution of Phytophthora species on different hosts.

He has done his PhD and a short postdoc in the Lab of Edgar Huitema at the University of Dundee (UK). Here he studied the evolution and mode of action of a specific effector gene family, called Crinklers in Phytophthora, and has analysed gene expression data, to find out which genes are switched on (or off) during the different stages of infection.

He visited the Lab of Professor Aurelien Tellier (Population Genetics, TU Munich) as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in 2015 and 2016 to learn more about the theoretical aspects of Population Genetics. Here he developed the Solanum chilense pathosystem that is in use in the group.

Now he is leading his own research group at the Chair of Phytopathology (Prof. Ralph Hückelhoven) at the TU Munich.


Parvinderdeep Singh Kahlon

Parvinderdeep comes from Punjab, India. He studied Biotechnology at Punjab Technical University, India, and continued his studies as a master student in the program of Plant Sciences at University of Bonn, Germany. During his Masters he worked on ‘Method development for robust screening of RCR3 variants that can trigger hypersensitive response upon recognition of the Cladosporium fulvum Effector Avr2’ at the Plant Chemetics lab (Prof. Renier van der Hoorn) at the University of Oxford. For his PhD he is now studying the molecular evolution of pathogen defence in wild tomato species. Besides science, he likes traveling, cooking and dancing.


Lina Muñoz Hoyos

Lina comes from Colombia, she received her Barchelor’s degree in Biology from the Pontifical Xavierian University, Bogotá. She was awarded with a scholarship from the Carolina Foundation to pursue her master’s studies in the program of Biotechnology at the University of Cordoba, Spain. During her masters she worked on understanding of the molecular dialogue in the early biotrophic infection phase of Fusarium during interaction with tomato plants at Department of Genetics with Professor Antonio Di Pietro. Currently, she is working on her PhD and she plans to identify and quantify secondary metabolites that can be involved in the early defense-associated responses in tomato wild species Solanum chilense. and demonstrate if there is variability between different populations in relation to their location.


Tamara Schmey

Tamara obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and her Master’s degree in Ecology and Evolution from Goethe University Frankfurt. For her Master thesis, she investigated the suitability of Oxford Nanopore sequencing to obtain whole genomes from the green algal symbionts of lichens in the research group “Molecular Evolutionary Biology” (Prof. Dr. Imke Schmitt, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre).
She recently joined the group to pursue her PhD, for which she will study the genomes of Alternaria spp. occurring on wild tomato plants (Solanum chilense). She wants to characterize the diversity of these plant pathogens on several levels from genetic differences to population genomics and link the genotypes to the phenotypes. By investigating how the pathogens adapt to host plants from a climatic range, she hopes to elucidate more about the molecular basis of adaptation.
To relax, she does yoga, cooks and goes for walks in the forest.


Bhawna Bonthala

Bhawna was awarded PhD (Biotechnology) from, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, India. She qualified a couple of the prestigious national level competitive exams namely UGC-JRF, DBT-JRF and GATE conducted by Indian Govt., to pursue PhD. Her PhD thesis topic was “Development of SSRs markers and their validation in Lagenaria siceraria (bottle gourd)”. During the course of her study, she gained expertise in the construction of microsatellite-enriched libraries, genome-wide identification of microsatellites, stress-associated genes, etc. She further studied phylogenetic relationships, diversity and population genetic structure analysis among different bottle gourd accession. After PhD, she got Seal of Excellence certificate by the European Commission (MSCA, Horizon 2020). Currently, she is working as a postdoctoral researcher in our team. She is studying pathogens found on the wild tomato species (Solanum chilense) by using NGS technologies. Precisely, she is working on improving genome assembly and gene annotation (structural and functional) of the Alternaria species to gain insights into its pathogenic lifestyle. She is curious to explore the genome and stress-tolerance mechanism in wild tomato, to contribute in the improvement of cultivated tomato.  Besides science, she is passionate about writing poems, cooking, singing etc.

Tamara Susanto

Tamara comes from Jakarta, Indonesia. For her bachelor’s she studied Molecular Biotechnology at the Technical University of Munich and is continuing her master’s studies in the same field. She completed her bachelor’s thesis in our group. In her thesis she focused on unraveling the spread of fungicide resistant and fungicide sensitive Alternaria solani strains originating from Germany and the Netherlands. Using genomic comparisons she investigated whether fungicide resistance in Alternaria solani spread throughout Germany or arose independently. Currently, she is working as a student assistant. She maintains computational infrastructure as the server admin and supports the group with writing bioinformatic scripts.


Melissa Verin

Melissa is a theoretical biologist and data scientist from France. She obtained her Master’s degree in Ecology, Evolution and Biometrics from Claude Bernard University Lyon 1. She focused her MSc thesis on evolutionary models of life history strategies and pursued a PhD at the chair of population genetics at the Technical University of Munich. During her PhD she worked on modeling host-parasite coevolution and the evolution of seed banking. She then developed size-structured population models to study the decrease of Phytoplankton cell sizes in response to global warming at Queen’s University Canada. She decided to shorten her postdoc to pursue a career outside academia and took on Data Scientist roles in the industry. She currently works for a tech company and joins us on a short term collaborative project -modelling the genetic diversity of a crop pathogen.


Faten Mansouri

Faten comes from Beja, Tunisia, she obtained her Bachelor of Engineering in Agricultural Sciences from Higher Agronomic School of Kef, Tunisia, and her Master of Science in Sustainable Agriculture from Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, Crete, Greece. She pursued her Ph.D. studies at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic. For her Ph.D., she investigated viruses infecting vegetable, ornamental, and wild Allium species and the transmission characteristics of allexiviruses by Eriophyid mites. 

Currently, she is working as a postdoctoral researcher in our team. She is investigating viruses infecting wild tomato species. 

Besides science, she loves traveling, cooking, and photography. 

Other members

Leo Kaindl, BSc Thesis & HiWi 2020 – now

Hannah Kucking, MSc internship – Agricultural Science

Alexander Fastner, BSc thesis – Bioinformatics

Diana Hagl – BSc thesis – Bioinformatics

Former Members

Florian Bößl (Bsc thesis, 2017)
Tim Braun (Bsc thesis, 2018)
Lisa Marie Keitel (MSc thesis, 2017)
Judit Liebl (Bsc thesis, 2018)
Gesche Zander (Bsc thesis, 2018)
Surya Hebrom (MSc internship, 2019)
Ethan Weiner (DAAD-RISE exchange student, 2019)
Lukas Deuring (BSc thesis, 2019)
Mindih Shallet Seta (MSc thesis, 2019)
Michael Muser (MSc thesis, 2019)
Corinn Small (PhD candidate, 2019)
Nikolai Köhler (MSc internship, 2019)
Andrea Förner (MSc thesis, 2020)
Maximilian Lutz, (BSc thesis 2020)
Louisa Brumma, (BSc internship 2021)
Severin Einspanier, (MSc internship 2021)

Other group Pictures