Evolutionary Genomic

The Evolutionary (Patho-)Genomic group is committed to elucidate the evolution and biology of microbes with the use of bioinformatics.

Microbes such as fungi, oomycetes and bacteria interact with complex and incessantly changing abiotic and biotic environments. The research of the Evolutionary (Patho-) Genomics group aims to understand what molecular mechanisms contribute to microbial (genome) diversification, and how these differences translate to the capacity of microbes to adapt to novel or altered environments, both on short and long evolutionary time-scales.

Rapid adaptation is particularly apparent in the tight symbiosis between pathogens and their hosts. While hosts evolved mechanisms to detect and restrain pathogens, pathogens evolved means to disguise themselves or suppress host responses. Our goal is to elucidate the evolution of plant pathogens and to unravel molecular mechanisms that foster their diversification during the co-evolutionary arms race with their hosts. We utilize bioinformatics and the ever increasing amount of ‘omics’ data to study the evolution as well as molecular and biochemical aspects of microbe-host interactions. To this end, we produce and analyze large-scale genomics, transcriptomics, and (phospho)-proteomic data generated by state-of-the art technologies such as Illumina and PacBio sequencing.

Some highlights of our recent research:
-The rapid and highly sophisticated adaptation of asexual pathogens

-Spread of Panama disease in banana caused by one single clone of the Fusarium fungus