Pierre de Wit

Pierre de Wit, cluster leader


Pathogenomics is the field of science which focuses on the molecular interaction between plants and pathogens. Use is made of the latest omics technologies to help identify genes which confer resistance or indeed, susceptibility, of a plant to a particular pathogen. Furthermore, determining the molecular mechanisms behind the plant / pathogen interaction is key to developing new strategies for enhancing resistance to important pathogens in crop plants. An important aspect of pathogenomics is that research is two – sided, where the both the genetics of the plant and the pathogen are targets of investigation.


The CBSG pathogenomics programme covers research on both potato and tomato but due to the advantages of speed and versatility, much research on the molecular basis of plant-pathogen interaction is focused on Arabidopsis. Through work on this model plant we aim to home in more rapidly on genes linked to disease and thus arrive earlier at novel strategies for crop protection.

The Pathogenomics programme

  • Investigating the importance and role of effector proteins in defence to:

   Fusarium  /  Cladosporium  /  Nematodes  /

Phytophthora  /  Verticillium and  Viruses

  • Technologies for protein complex identification
  • Charactization of the major resistance genes to Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus