About the Laboratory of Phytopathology

First and foremost, we are teachers. We feel that training future scientists is essential to the constantly evolving field of plant health, and through this, maintain and improve world food security.

Contributing to food security

Furthermore, we are passionate scientists with a fascination for plant pathology and a drive to contribute to new approaches of disease control. We perform research on plant diseases because they have a significant impact on world food security. By gaining fundamental knowledge and being able to translate this into application, we contribute to a sustainable world. The methodologies applied in our research are highly diverse, ranging from computational biology, to lab experiments and greenhouse studies.

Together with our students we form a team with broadly recognized expertise that has contributed to several breakthroughs in distinct areas of plant pathology. 


The Laboratory of Phytopathology was founded in 1906 and has over time evolved to fit the requirements and emerging scientific insights of the field.

In the early days the activities were mainly devoted to disease diagnosis and the identification of causal agents. Over the years, however, phytopathology gained ground as a scientific discipline and in the 1950s this gradually culminated in an overarching discipline referred to as “plant protection”. To cope with the broad scope of organisms causing pests and diseases Wageningen University established four chairs:

  • Phytopathology
  • Virology
  • Entomology
  • Nematology

From 1950 onwards the newly named Laboratory of Phytopathology specializes in fungal and bacterial diseases and their causal agents. Over the last two decades research largely revolved around studying interactions of fungal and oomycete plant pathogens with plants and antagonists.  

Recently we have expanded our scope by adding population genomics and microbiome research to our chair group.

Find out more about the Phytopathology people and their achievements

Professor Ritzema Bos 1906-1918

Professor Ritzema Bos
1906 - 1918

Professor Quanjer      1918-1949

Professor Quanjer
1918 - 1949

Professor Oort          1949-1969

Professor Oort
1949 - 1969

Professor Dekker     1969-1989

Professor Dekker
1969 - 1989

Professor Zadoks 1989 - 1991

Professor Zadoks
1989 - 1991

Professor de Wit 1989 - 2013

Professor de Wit
1989 - 2013

Professor Thomma           2013-2018

Professor Thomma
2013 - 2018

Professor Gert Kema 2018 -

Professor Kema
2018 -