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.




Link Box


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




Welcome Anlun

Anlun Wei graduated with a Master’s degree at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He will develop in his PhD methodology for the generation of bacterial mutant libraries. He will then apply this resource to uncover the genetics of maize root bacteria and their traits to cope with the secondary metabolites of their host plant. Anlun will work in the ERC project ‘Decoding microbiota feedbacks on plants – mifeePs’.


Welcome Mikiko

Mikiko Karasawa obtained a European Master degree in ‘Plant Health in Sustainable Cropping Systems’ after research stays in Valencia and Utrecht. In her PhD, she will investigate the underlying mechanisms of host specificity of plant microbiomes, specifically looking into the metabolic specialization of root microbiomes. Mikiko will work in the ERC project ‘Decoding microbiota feedbacks on plants – mifeePs’.



Veronica Caggìa, Lisa Thoenen and Valentin Gfeller have successfully defended their PhDs. #PhDsisters #PhDbrother #dreamteam


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