Members

Saskia Bauer

PhD Student
Saskia studied Biology at the Technical University Dresden. She started her PhD in 2015 working on the role of effector proteins from Blumeria graminis f.sp. hordei. She also aims to unravel components of immune signaling triggered by the barley MLA NLR receptor in A. thaliana.

Amelia Bourceret

Postdoc
During her PhD in Nancy (France), Amélia investigated the spatial and temporal variability of microbial root-associated communities of grass and leguminous plants, grown in industrial contaminated soils. Now she is studying the impact of fertilization and plant genotype on the maize root microbiota and its relation to plant growth.

Charles Copeland

Postdoc
Charles comes from Canada and completed his PhD degree at the University of British Columbia, where he studied the regulation of NLR-mediated plant immunity. He joined the lab in 2018, and is interested in the molecular mechanisms behind the interactions between the plant immune system and bacterial root microbiota.

Paloma Duran

Postdoc
Paloma comes from Spain and studied Biology at the University of Salamanca. During her PhD at the MPIPZ, she studied the multikingdom microbial communities associated with plant roots in nature and the impact of microbial interactions on plant health (Duran et al., Cell 2018). She joined the RGO lab in August 2018 and will now investigate the microbiota composition and interactions at the phycosphere of the model microalgae C. reinhardtii and other wild soil algae strains, utilizing natural soils and gnotobiotic systems.

Sabine Haigis

Technical assistant
Sabine Haigis comes from Germany and is working as technical assistant. She curates our fungal stocks and carries out barley transformation. She is also skilled in various pathogen inoculation assays.

Christopher J. Harbort

CJ studied biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also gained some research experience in plant-pathogen interactions. After then completing his PhD in human immunology at Humboldt University in Berlin, he has returned to his roots to pursue his interests in plant root microbiota. CJ Is currently working on plant-microbiota interactions and iron nutrition.

Alicia Jiménez Fernández

Postdoc
Alicia is from Spain and graduated in Biotechnology at Pablo de Olavide University. During her PhD she worked on the regulation of the lifestyle switch in Pseudomonas putida. Afterwards, she moved to Denmark to work on ribosomal mutations of cystic fibrosis Pseudomonas aeruginosa clinical isolates at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). This was followed by a second postdoc period at Institute Pasteur, Paris, researching on outer membranes proteins of atypical firmicutes. Since June 2018, she joined MPIPZ to work on the protective effects of rhizosphere bacterial communities against root pathogens.

Petra Köchner

Technical assistant
Petra Köchner comes from Germany and is working on molecular biological experiments. Petra also curates our clone collection and Arabidopsis strain collection.

Ka-Wai Ma

Postdoc
Ka-Wai comes from Hong Kong and completed his Ph.D. work on bacterial Type III secreted effectors at the University of California, Riverside, USA. He joined the lab in 2017. He is interested in understanding the role of plant immunity in shaping the establishment of the root microbiota.

Takaki Maekawa

Senior scientist
Takaki Maekawa comes from Wakayama, Japan. His project is aimed to uncover the principles of (R) protein-triggered immunity in the monocot Barley and the dicot Arabidopsis.
External collaborators
Nobutaka Mitsuda (AIST)
Pascal Braun (Technical University Munich)
Marc Nishimura,,Jeff Dangl (Univ. of North Carolina)
Jose Pruneda-Paz, Steve Kay (Univ. of Carolina San Diego).

Ryohei Thomas Nakano

Postdoc
Ryohei Thomas comes from Japan. He received his PhD studying plant cell biology, especially the morphological organization of ER, in Ikuko Hara-Nishimura's group at Kyoto University. His fundamental interest is how the cellular dynamics contributes to the overall fitness of the plants in natural habitats.

Jana Ordon

PhD Student
Jana comes from Germany and studied biology at Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. During her bachelor’s thesis she generated and tested a genome editing toolkit, which was then used to investigate the importance of a Resistance gene cluster in autoimmunity and pathogen defence during her master’s thesis (Ordon et al., Funct Integr Genomics 2019). She started her PhD in October 2018 and mainly focuses on the role of the plant innate immune system in the establishment of the root microbiota.

Anna Lisa Roth

Technical assistant
Anna Lisa comes from Germany and is working as a technical assistant. She is working on the Arabidopsis root microbiota and has a wide range of responsibilities including laboratory organization and maintenance of microbial culture collections. She supports the scientific staff for bacterial community screening and DNA preparation. Simone and Anna Lisa are working together.

Isabel Saur

Postdoc
Isabel received a BSc degree at the University of Applied Sciences in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany. Part of this work included the characterization of the ‘cold induced anther protein in rice’ and ‘CLE peptides involved in the regulation of nodulation in Medicago trancatula’. Her PhD work at The Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, in the group of John Rathjen focused on the Pto/Prf immune receptor complex and a novel receptor required for bacterial cold shock protein (or csp22)-mediated immunity. Isabel now focuses on the role of Blumeria graminis effectors recognized by barley MLA NLRs.

Julien Thouin

Postdoc
Julien did his PhD in the group of Hervé Sentenac at the Biochemistry & Plant Molecular Physiology (BPMP) Joint Research Unit in Montpellier, France, where he studied the molecular dialogue underpinning the establishment of the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis between rhizobia and legumes. He specifically focused his attention on the ionic channels involved in electrical and calcium signaling at the root hair plasma membrane in Medicago truncatula. Julien joined the PSL group in February 2019, where he is now interested in identifying the Rhizobiales mechanisms involved in microbiota colonisation and persistence on plant roots.

Kathrin Wippel

Postdoc
Kathrin is from Germany and did her PhD in Molecular Plant Physiology at University of Erlangen, focusing on the molecular players of nutrient exchange at the maize/Ustilago maydis interface. During her postdoctoral time in the lab of Sharon Long at Stanford University, USA, she worked on stress response and transcriptional regulation in Sinorhizobium meliloti during symbiosis with Medicago sativa. She joined the lab in 2017 to decipher the role of plant exudates on the bacterial community associated with the legume Lotus japonicus.

Makoto Yoshikawa-Maekawa

Postdoc
Makoto Yoshikawa-Maekawa comes from Hyogo, Japan. She is studying how barley NLR-type immune receptors recognize cognate effectors of the barley powdery mildew fungus and initiate immune signaling.

Dongli Yu

PhD student
Dongli studied Plant Pathology at Nanjing Agricultural University and Wageningen University. He started his PhD at the MPIPZ in 2017 as joint PhD student in the laboratories of Jijie Chai and Paul Schulze-Lefert. He is interested in unravelling the structural basis of pre- and post-activation of NLR immune receptor complexes.
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