Sofie Goormachtig obtained her PhD in 1997 in the group of Professor Marcelle Holsters at Ghent University and became professor in 2005. Since 2010 she is also an independent principal investigator of the VIB Center for Plant Systems Biology and leads the Rhizosphere group. Her research has been focused mainly on beneficial plant-microbe interactions, although detrimental interactions have been studied as well.
Emilie Froussart obtained her PhD in Biotechnology and Microbiology at the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD). She studied the impact of plant agropolymers on germination, root development, and plant-microorganism interactions. In 2017, she started as a postdoctoral researcher in the Rhizosphere group. She works on the Rhizobiome project on wheat plants for the development of novel biologicals, such as plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), to be used in a sustainable agriculture.
Sylwia Struk obtained her PhD in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics of the Ghent University in the Rhizosphere group headed by Professor Sofie Goormachtig. Her main focus was unraveling protein-protein interactions essential for strigolactone and karrikin signaling in Arabidopsis. Currently, as a postdoctoral researcher in the Rhizosphere group, she mainly continues the research done during her PhD.
Judith Van Dingenen
Judith Van Dingenen obtained her PhD in Professor Dirk Inzé’s group in 2016. During her PhD, she focused on leaf growth regulation by sugars and strobilurins in Arabidopsis. After her PhD, she joined Dr. Mark Stitt’s Department in the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (Potsdam, Germany) where she studied the effect of limited nitrogen availability on flowering and tuberization in Arabidopsis and potato. In April 2019, she started as postdoctoral researcher to investigate symbiotic plant-microbe interactions in different plant species.
María Aparicio Chacón
María Aparicio Chacón graduated in 2016 as a Master in Advanced Agriculture at the University of Granada. She performed her Master’s research in the Antioxidants and Free Radicals laboratories of Dr. J.M. Palma and Dr. F.J. Corpas at the Estación Experimental del Zaidín-Spanish National Research Council, where she studied the effects of arsenic on pea plants. María started her PhD in 2018 with the aim to unravel the protein interaction network between Rhizophagus irregularis and tomato.
Stien Beirinckx graduated in 2015 as a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Ghent University. She performed her Master research in Professor Dirk De Graaf’s laboratory on the honey bee pathogen Paenibacillus larvae and its virulence factors. In 2016, she started her PhD in the Rhizosphere group in collaboration with the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) (under the supervision of Dr. Jane Debode). She will investigate the maize microbiome and try to identify new PGPR strains to boost maize growth.
Lukas Braem graduated in 2014 as a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Ghent University. He wrote his thesis in Professor Goormachtig’s group and studied the effects of strigolactone (SL) on roots. In 2015 he started his PhD investigating the proteomic changes occurring in the parasitic plant Phelipanche ramosa upon SL signaling.
Joren De Ryck
Joren De Ryck graduated in 2018 as a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Ghent University. In his master thesis he investigated the genomes of different PGPR and their growth effect on Arabidopsis. In 2019, Joren started his PhD in collaboration with ILVO and will try to identify the protein interactions between the phytopathogen Ralstonia solanacearum and tomato.
Stephanie Fordeyn graduated in 2018 with a Master’s degree in Plant Biotechnology at Ghent University. She performed research on tropical legume-rhizobia symbioses under the supervision of Professor Sofie Goormachtig and Professor Anne Willems (Laboratory of Microbiology). In 2019, she began her PhD (with Professor Willems as copromotor) on the use of drought-tolerant legume and rhizobia partners originating from Northeast Thailand to improve tropical agricultural productivity.
Sonia Garcia Mendez
Sonia Garcia Mendez graduated in 2016 as a Master in Microbiology at the Autonomous University of Madrid. She performed her research in Dr. R. Rivilla Palma’s laboratory on the genotypic and biochemical characterization of two strains of Pseudomonas sp. In 2018, she started her PhD (in collaboration with Professor Anne Willems, Laboratory of Microbiology) on bacterial endophytes to protect plants against cold temperatures.
Tuong Ho Manh
Tuong Ho Manh graduated in 2015 as a Master of Biotechnology in Vietnam. He started his PhD project in Professor Sofie Goormachtig’s group in 2017. During his PhD, he will investigate the rhizobacteria of salt- tolerant plants to find new PGPR strains that could promote the growth of Arabidopsis and tomato under salt conditions.
Anse Jacobs graduated in 2016 as a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Ghent University. In her master project she studied the interactome involved in SL-induced germination of Phelipanche ramosa. In 2017, Anse started her PhD in the Rhizosphere group and will continue her master research and try to unravel the function of KAI2 homologs from Phelipanche ramosa in germination.
Amber Lampens graduated in 2017 as a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Ghent University. She performed her master research in the Rhizosphere group, studying the plant signaling networks activated by plant growth-promoting Streptomyces species. In 2017, she started her PhD focusing on molecular insights into Caulobacter-induced growth promotion in Arabidopsis.
Sarah Langendries graduated in 2015 as a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Ghent University. She performed her master research in the Rhizosphere group, where she analyzed the effect of PGPR on root and shoot growth. In 2016, she obtained a teaching assistant position, combining educational tasks with her PhD project, in which she investigates the interaction between PGPR and Arabidopsis to detect the plant molecular networks underlying plant growth promotion.
Antoine Persyn obtained his degree as Master of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Ghent University in 2017. After writing his thesis in Professor Dirk Inzé’s group about the comparison of a gene-driven and bacterium-based approach to promote growth in maize, he started his PhD in the Rhizosphere group on the study of the endomicrobiomes of different lettuce cultivars and the identification of bacteria that promote lettuce growth.
Arne Temmerman graduated in 2018 as a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Ghent University. He performed his master research in the Rhizosphere group, where he investigated the function of KAI2 homologs in strigolactone signaling. In 2019, Arne started his PhD to further unravel the strigolactone signaling pathway in Arabidopsis.
In 2019, Louis Robichez graduated as a master of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Ghent University. He performed his master thesis in the research group of Professor Caroline Gutjahr, where he investigated the karrikin signaling components and their possible role in Arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization. Later that year, he started his PhD in the Rhizosphere group (In collaboration with Prof. Petra Van Damme) with the aim to unravel the molecular basis underlying the Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal-tomato interaction.
Dan Chen obtained her master in Genetics at the Rice Research Institute of Sichuan Agricultural University. During her master, she studied the reproductive development of rice. In 2019, she joined the Rhizosphere group as a PhD and her research focuses on understanding KAI2-mediated seed germination using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model.
Annick De Keyser
Annick De Keyser graduated as Bachelor in Chemistry with specialization in Pharmacy and Biotechnology in 1991 at KaHo Sint-Lieven (Ghent). After her internship at the company Plant Genetic Systems, she worked as a lab technician at Corvas International NV, where she developed her skills in molecular cloning techniques. In 1994 she started in Professor Marc Van Montagu’s Genetics laboratory at Ghent University, where she was involved in several sequencing projects. In 2000, she joined the group of Professor Marcelle Holsters and participated in nodulation projects of Sesbania rostrata and Medicago truncatula. Since 2011, she is the lab technician in the Rhizosphere group.