PhD defence

Under pressure; exploring the mechanobiology of Phytophthora invasion

PhD candidate J (Jochem) Bronkhorst MSc
Promotor JHB (Joris) Sprakel
Co-promotor FPM (Francine) Govers
Organisation Wageningen University

Tue 20 September 2022 16:00 to 17:30

Venue Omnia
Room Groot Auditorium


The outbreak of pathogens (like COVID-19) have a major impact on society; especially if such outbreaks are in the food we eat. A classic example is the destruction of potatoes by Phytophthora infestans in Ireland in 1850, leading to mass starvation and emigration. Phtyophthora spreads quickly using spores that swim to their plant hosts, encyst and invade using a germination tube. Although being vital for successful pathogenicity, how the germ tube is able push itself into plant hosts is still unknown. We have studied how the pathogens apply their forces to hosts, finding they appear to be a highly intelligent ninja-like cut called the Naifu mechanism (published in Nature Microbiology). Also unravelled was how it manages to build up these high invasive forces and give them direction while growing at the same time (published in Science Advances)!