Our research interest is focused on (crop) plants, how they respond to external and internal stimuli and how plants can change and reprogram their development.
For plants to be resilient to abiotic stresses like salt stress and drought, the root system is of vital importance. Roots are the primary organs that adapt their architecture and physiology to drought and salt stress and nutrients deficiency. Their performance is key to the ability of the whole plant to recruit nutrients and water. However, we have limited knowledge of how the root functions and this translates into a limited capability to control plant resilience to abiotic stress.
Our projects aim to understand how crops like tomato and potato respond to salinity and drought stress and which gene regulatory networks regulate these responses at molecular and cellular level. Here the role and importance of root architecture, in abiotic stress resilience and the interaction of plant roots with soil microbial communities and other organic biostimulants will be investigated. Novel developments in biostimulants show that it is possible to affect root functioning and resilience towards abiotic stress such as salt and drought. However, despite the potential for agriculture, there is very limited knowledge on the mechanisms through which biostimulants act. In this project the role of different biostimulants on tomato salinity and drought resilience will be investigated.
- How crops like tomato and potato respond to salinity and drought stress and which gene regulatory networks regulate these responses at the molecular and cellular level.
- Can seaweed biostimulants increase productivity of crops under adverse conditions, e.g. drought and saline soil conditions? What is the mechanism of action?
- Can seaweed increase the plant protein production in protein crops?
- How plant roots interact with their microbiome? Discovery of plant genes and processes that are crucial for plants to maximize profitable functions from their root microbiome and help the plant to perform better under environmental stresses.