About us

Plants accommodate and continuously interact with a species-rich microbiota including a multitude of bacteria, fungi or oomycetes. These microbes collectively function as a microbiome and, similar to the microbial communities in human or animal guts, they impact nutrition and health of their host. For instance, plant microbiota members can improve nutrient acquisition or provide pathogen protection. In our research we address the following fundamental questions of plant microbiome biology:

- How do plants communicate with the root microbiota and take influence on their activities?

- What is the functional contribution of the root microbiota to plant growth and disease protection?

Ultimately, our research mission is that beneficial plant microbiome interactions can be implemented in smart and sustainable agriculture. We mainly work with Arabidopsis thaliana and Zea mays as models and we combine field and laboratory experiments with methods in microbiomics, molecular biology, microbiology, plant genetics and bioinformatics.




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University of Basel
Department of Environmental Sciences
Plant Microbe Interactions
Bernoullistrasse 32
CH-4056 Basel




Congratulations Claudia for your MSc degree!

In her MSc thesis ‘Microbial community dynamics and their impact on plant performance under phosphorous limiting conditions’, Claudia studied the microbe-induced growth promotion of A. thaliana under P-limiting conditions. Examination of bacterial communities did revealed no major alteration of community composition in response to varying levels of P. However, she identified efficient phosphate solubilizing strains among the abundant root bacteria, which probably help the plants to mitigate stress by P-limitation. This work was motivated by the vision that phosphate solubilizing root bacteria can be used to enhance crop productivity in a sustainable way.


Welcome Hilal

Hilal Civelek obtained her MSc degree from the Gebze Technical University in Turkey. Given her outstanding performance, Hilal has been awarded a PhD scholarship by the Turkish Ministry of Education. With her expertise in genetics, she will be working on the topic of the SNF project ‘Plant Responsiveness to Microbiota Feedbacks’.