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.





We are hiring

We are hiring!


The Plant Microbe Interactions group at the University of Basel is currently seeking talented people to join the team.

See link box


Group outing Wasserfallen

On the 23th of August, our group exchanged their desks and lab benches for the great outdoors. We took the cable car from Reigoldswil up to Wasserfallen. Up there we did a hike with a lovely view of the Alps, followed by lunch and a short break before heading down again. At the end, the brave ones did a downhill “scooter” ride back to Reigoldswil. We also had the chance to get to know each other and the new team members better. We’re already looking forward to our next group adventure, and hopefully many new faces joining us!
More pictures


Congratulations Lisa

The ISME is the biggest conference in microbial ecology. This year it took place in Lausanne. Out of 1700 presented posters, the poster presented by Lisa Thönen won a student poster award. It shows that maize root bacteria metabolize host secondary metabolites. As a product, they form a red coloured degradation product. In her PhD, Lisa investigates where, how and why bacteria evolved this trait.


Congratulations Vero

Our PhD student Veronica Caggìa (no 6) won the World Championship of Indiaca with the Swiss women's team in Luxemburg.


Welcome Pascale

Pascale Flury joins the plant microbe interaction group as research associate. During her PhD and postdoc she worked on the genomics and the ecology of interactions of plant-beneficial Pseudomonas bacteria with pest insects with Profs. Monika Maurhofer (ETH Zurich) and Christoph Keel (University of Lausanne). She enriches the group with expertise related to #plant pathology, #biological control, #molecular diagnostics, #soil-borne plant diseases and #microbiology of compost.


mifeePs - decoding microbiota feedbacks on plants

How to decode this wonderful letter head?

Horizon Europe (HORIZON) Call: ERC-2021-COG
= This is communication relates to the Horizon Europe call for Consolidator Grants of the European Research Council from the year 2021

Project: 101044525 — mifeePs
= This is communication refers to the project mifeePs (which has the given project number)
PS: mifeePs stands for decoding microbiota feedbacks on plants and present the project submitted by Klaus Schlaeppi to the ERC COG call in 2021

GAP invitation letter (from reserve list)
= GAP stands for grant preparation; An ‘invitation for grant preparation’ simply means that the project was selected for funding; a COG project is worth 2M € - Rock n’roll!
= reserve list means that the project mifeePs - although favorably evaluated - it’s ranking was initially not high enough given the budget limit of the call. It now has moved from the reserve to the main list because higher ranked proposals dropped out or additional funding became available. Rock n’roll!