Per 1 January 2014 René van der Vlugt is appointed Endowed Professor in Ecological Plant Virology at the Virology Chair Group. This position, for 1 day per week, has been made possible through a legacy of the Bos family, the heirs of Dr. Luite Bos.
René will combine this professorship with his position as group leader of the Virology/Prime Diagnostics group at the Business Unit Biointeractions of Plant Research International.
The Virology Chair Group conducts research into virus-host and virus-vector interactions with a focus on viruses of plants and insects, as well as insect-transmitted viruses of humans and animals. With the appointment of René we can expand the plant-virological research in Wageningen and increase the visibility as regards plant virus - insect vector interactions and the relationship of plant viruses with their environment. This establishes an excellent link of the new position with the already running plant virus research in the Chair Group, with a focus on defense and resistance mechanisms to viruses.
A major objective of this professorship is to educate students in ecological plant virology, the domain where Dr. Bos has been active for many years. This research area is of great practical significance because plant virus outbreaks are causing enormous damage worldwide, and even now frequently cause famine.
René started his scientific career with a PhD study at Virology in Wageningen, where he conducted research into potato virus Y. After a post-doc position at Nijmegen University he joined the – then - Institute for Phytopathological Research as plant virologist in 1994, where he succeeded Dr. Bos who had just retired.