Blight in the spotlight

Phytophthora infestans, causal agent of potato late blight, is a notorious pathogen with high adaptability, which limits control efforts. This research aims at developing quantitative tools to assess the pathogen’s infection efficiency. Using advanced microscopy and plant cell wall mimics, we quantify key traits of this pathogens infection cycle, including zoospore swimming, germ tube tropism and host penetration. Doing so, we enrich our understanding of this pathogen’s infection mechanism, while simultaneously developing innovative methods to investigate novel control methods to combat this disease.


Unlike fungal pathogens, we found Phytophthora pathogens to breach surfaces through a unique slicing mechanism.


A slicing mechanism facilitates host entry by plant-pathogenic Phytophthora
NATURE Microbiology

Molecular sensors reveal the mechano-chemical response of Phytophthora infestans walls and membranes to mechanical and chemical stress
Science Direct

An actin mechanostat ensures hyphal tip sharpness in Phytophthora infestans to achieve host penetration
SCIENCE Advances

Fatal attraction: How Phytophthora zoospores find their host
Science Direct