Stéphane Hacquard

Research Group leader
Stéphane comes from Nancy, France. He got his PhD at the University of Lorraine in France in 2010 and did a Postdoc at the MPIPZ in Cologne. Most of his earlier work was on fungal transcriptional reprogramming during colonization of plant tissues. Since January 2017, he is a Group Leader at the MPIPZ. He is interested into how both host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions impact microbial community structure and plant health.

Shiksha Ajmera

Shiksha’s abode is in the holy land of India (Bharat). She obtained her PhD from Kost lab (University of Osnabruck, Germany) where she looked at positive interactions among bacteria. She joined the MPIPZ in May 2024, to investigate if dividing metabolic labour among bacterial populations can improve their ability to colonize plant roots.

Arpan Kumar Basak

Arpan is a post-doc investigating the horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in root microbiota. He is working on the identification of the genes acquired by root colonizing fungi from bacterial ancestors. Further, he plans to determine the function of the HGT genes in root microbiota establishment and root endophytism.

Stephanie Carvajal Acevedo

Technical Assistant
Stephanie comes from Colombia and is a biologist. She obtained her Master's degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society at the University of Highlands and Islands /University of Crete in 2019. She has professional experience as a research assistant in microbiology and biotechnology laboratories. She started working at MPIPZ in January 2023 as BTA in Haquard's group. She is responsible for isolating, cultivating and characterizing microbes and microbial communities.

Guillaume Chesneau

Guillaume comes from France and obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Angers in 2021. During his Ph.D., he was interested in deciphering the ecological processes involved in the assembly of the seed microbiota with the aim of limiting the invasion of seed-borne pathogens. He joined the MPIPZ in January 2022, to study cross-kingdom metabolic interactions in the Arabidopsis root microbiome.

Frederickson D. Entila

Fred originated form the Pearl of the Orient Seas, the Philippines. He obtained his PhD from MPIPZ Cologne in Tsuda group, where he studied the immunity-dependencies of plant-microbiota dialogues. He started his Pos-doctoral research on August 2023 to investigate the molecular mechanisms governing the plant microbiota-root-shoot circuitry and its relevance to plant health, performance, and diseases.

Johannes Herpell

Johannes obtained his PhD at the University of Vienna, investigating genomic determinants of phyllosphere associated plant microbiota members and the mechanisms they employ to enhance plant growth. He joined the MPIPZ in October 2023 and explores the role of root exudates, as a shoot-to-root response to above ground stress factors, in the assembly of the root microbiota.

Brigitte Pickel

Technical assistant
Brigitte is working as a technical assistant and comes from Germany. She is working since 35 years at the MPIPZ. Since 1 year she is working in Group Haquard. She is responsible for the laboratory organization and the culture collection.

Pratchaya Pramoj Na Ayutthaya

PhD student
Pratchaya comes from Bangkok, Thailand. He obtained his Master degree in Biochemistry at Eberhard Karl Universität Tübingen, Germany. He started working on investigating how root microbiota influences phyllosphere microbiota in host plants under the umbrella of MICROBIOSIS research focus.

Ram-Sevak Raja-Kumar

PhD Student
Ram Sevak comes from India, she obtained her Master degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Bonn in 2020. In her master project, she worked on investigating the allelic variants on gene regulation in F1 maize hybrids using transient luciferase expression assay in the Frommer group at the MPIPZ. In October 2020, she started her PhD in Group Hacquard to work on the Plectosphaerella cucumerina project with the aims of understanding fungal host colonization strategies, adaptation, and dominance in the root microbiome.

Priscilla Tijesuni Adisa

PhD Student
Priscilla comes from Nigeria. She obtained her master’s degree in Resource Use and Plant Protection at China Agricultural University, Beijing. She started her PhD in July 2022, and is investigating the genetic mechanisms underlying bacterial-mediated alleviation of fungal dysbiosis in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Qi Wang

Qi comes from China, he got his PhD at Inner Mongolia Agricultural University in China in 2014 and did a Postdoc at the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Most of his earlier work was on nitrate-mediated regulation of rhizobium and legume symbiosis. He started working at MPIPZ in 2021 as a joint postdoctoral fellow in the laboratories of Paul Schulze-Lefert, Stephane Hacquard and Ruben Garrido-Oter and is studying the working mechanism of rhizosphere phosphate solubilizing microorganisms during plant growth.

Sarah Wolf

PhD Student
Sarah comes from Switzerland where she obtained her Master degree in Biology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in 2023. During her master she specialized in microbiology and did projects in environmental microbiology, synthetic biology and plant-microbe interactions. In September 2023, she started her PhD in Group Hacquard to work on the MICROBIOSIS project investigating the impact of microbial exometabolites on plant health.
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