Plant-Parasite Interactions Group
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
The overarching theme of our group is to combine genomics and molecular biology to understand fundamental questions in host:parasite biology. We primarily focus on plant-parasitic nematodes because: i) they are a threat to food security in developed and developing countries, and ii) underlying this threat is a wealth of fascinating biology that until very recently has been largely unexplorable.
The group is proudly international, diverse, and welcoming. We are always open to sharing ideas and resources to address interesting questions. Several past/present members of the lab held or hold international fellowships and studentships, and we support applications at all career stages. The lab is currently funded by the Biology and Biotechnology Research Council (BBSRC), the Wellcome Trust and Newton Trust, The Rank fund, and the European Union Horizon 2020 programme (ERC).
If you are interested in joining the lab as a under/post-graduate student or post doctoral research fellow, please get in contact for informal discussions and further details. We are particularly keen to support Marie Curie/EMBO/Discovery fellows in the areas of Effector biology, Horizontal Gene Transfer, Cell wall biology/degradation during infection, and Mitochondrial genome evolution.
New paper from the lab
The H. schachtii genome and transcriptome.
All the data are here:
Behind the paper commentary here:
Fun afternoon of escape rooms and cocktails!
New pre-print from the lab.
New pre-print from the lab on low-cost imaging of nematode infection. First important step down an exciting road.
Welcome Welcome Welcome.
Welcome to Thomas, Sarah Jane, and Mariam!
Thank you for joining our team Andrea - it was a pleasure hosting you!
Congratulations, once again, Olaf!
Congrats to Olaf for winning the 1st place poster prize at the ICN2022!!
Welcome Thomas Baum!
Prof Thomas Baum joins the lab on sabbatical as a BSPP Visiting Professor and Visiting Fellow in Clare Hall.
Virtual nematode infection!
Breaking news - The Arabidopsis ePlant has been infected by nematodes!!!
Pick *any* A. thaliana gene and see how nematode infection alters its expression
Huge thanks to the ePlant team.
Literally everyone in the lab has been chipping in on a truly massive project - cannot wait to see how this turns out!
It's the most fantastic news!!! We have been awarded an ERC starting grant to explore effector biogenesis in plant-parasitic nematodes.
New PhD and PDRA positions to open soon.
Huge congrats to Olaf for winning the best platform presentation prize at AAB conference for his talk on "the machine"
We finally found a "SUG box"! Using targeted transcriptomics of gland cells we found many new effectors and first cis-regulatory element associated with sub-ventral glands, SUG box!
New S genes against Nematodes. Conceptualising plant and parasitic-nematode as a "hologenome", we use congruent differential expression of metabolic pathways to find new S genes involved in trans-kingdom VitB5 biosynth.
Lab day out
After visiting the King's chapel roof - here we are having lunch in the Eagle.
Amazing time-lapse of nematode infection
We've been tracking cyst nematode infection (43 days so far) Had to reduce quality a lot for upload, but holy smokes! Still need to optimise lighting, but basically this setup (effectively just a camera, not microscope) will work.
A busy week packing and unpacking! Very excited to move a whole 2.3 miles down the road to the new Crop Science Centre. Exciting times ahead - the lab enjoying well-deserved pizza on the terrace
10-week paid 'wet-lab' summer internship available in our group
10-week paid 'wet-lab' summer internship funded by RSB and DEFRA available in the lab entitled, "Setting up target-based screening in plant-pathology: disrupting the "conductors" of plant-nematode parasitism"
Some more Current opinions on Plant-nematode interactions!
"How has biotechnology, in its broadest sense, helped elucidate plant-nematode biology?" That is the question we (Lieve, Boris, and me) were tasked to answer by Current Opinion in Biotechnology.
New preprint on Mel-DOG!
Congratulations Caroline on our latest preprint in collaboration with Etienne Danchin - about the Meloidogyne DOG box (a non-coding effector promoter in root knot nematodes).
Some Current opinions on Plant-nematode interactions
Some Current opinions in Plant Biology on Plant-nematode interactions
Congratulations Victor - awarded an MCSA fellowship to join the lab
Huge congratulations to Victor Hugo M. de Souza who was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Fellowship to join the group in the summer. Exiting project on the host range paradox of root knot nematodes - looking forward to working together.
Making the sometimes intangible, tangible.
The Covid-safe equivalent of handing out 3D-printed effector protein structures to the students after the plant pathology lecture block is a lot more tiring!
Answering one of the top 10 questions in MPMI
Out in First Look MPMI journal.
Sol, Erica, and I tried to answer one of the top 10 questions raised by the field at the IS-MPMI
MPMI researchers: "How do pathogens evolve novel virulence activities?"
Us: "How don't they?"
A warm welcome to Beatrice who joins the lab as a technician.
SEvdA lab joins Faculty opinions
SEvdA lab joins Faculty opinions. Follow to see highlights of our favourite research papers in the field of plant-microbe (and in particular plant-nematode) interactions.
A warm welcome to the lab to Ko - and thank you BSPP for funding his MSc Thesis on horizontal gene transfer from plants to parasitic nematodes.
Dr Sebastian Eves-van den Akker
BBSRC David Phillips Fellow
Head of Plant-Parasite Interactions Group
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Cambridge
Cambridge CB2 3EA