Molecular Ecology of the Rhizosphere

research group Prof. Dr. Joost T. van Dongen


Plant continuously observe their environment and adjust their molecular, physiological and biochemical behavior according to the triggers that are perceived. The Molecular Ecology of the Rhizosphere Lab aims to reveal how plants respond to adverse environmental conditions. In particular we investigate sensing and signaling cascades at the molecular level, their downstream transcriptional networks and the plants response at the physiological and metabolic level.  In addition we study the regulation of plant growth.

Our lab started late 2013 when Joost van Dongen joined the Institute of Biology I at the RWTH Aachen University as Professor. The major research topic of the lab is the adaptation of plants to low oxygen stress, which naturally occurs when plants are exposed to extreme rainfall resulting in partial or full submergence.   In addition we study bacteria associated with the plant rhizosphere that have a beneficial effect on plant growth. Furthermore, the adaptation of plants to salinity stress is studied in rice.

Next to that, the lab hosts a junior research group lead by Jos Schippers. This group focusses on unravelling the role of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) during plant development and stress.

On the following web-pages, you can find more detailed information about our various research projects and the scientists that are involved. Please don’t hesitate to contact any of us if you would like to obtain more information, or if you would like to join us in one of these projects.