Teaching/Student Projects

Please see photos of mycorrhizae taken by biol-111 students here!

Bachelors Thesis Projects:

Bsc thesis project in collaboration with the EnvGen group and the company Strube Research.

This project will focus on the infection biology of the fungus Cercospora beticola that causes spot disease on sugar beet. The Bachelor project will use microscopy analyses, plant experiments and infection assays to study virulence of this important pathogen. Please contact Eva for more information:  estukenbrock [a] bot.uni-kiel.de

Function of accessory chromosomes in Zymoseptoria tritici (with Michael Habig and Jovan Komluski)

What is the functional relevance of these chromosomes that are present in some but not all individuals? Are these chromosomes selfish genetic elements? For more background please see the following publications:

Habig M, Kema, Gert H. J., Stukenbrock EH. 2018. Meiotic drive of female-inherited supernumerary chromosomes in a pathogenic fungus. eLife 7:e40251.

Habig M, Quade J, Stukenbrock EH. 2017. Forward Genetics Approach Reveals Host Genotype-Dependent Importance of Accessory Chromosomes in the Fungal Wheat Pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici. MBio 8. doi:10.1128/mBio.01919-17.

Functional characterization of effector candidate genes in the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici (with Janine Haueisen)

Candidates for genes encoding pathogen effectors have been identified by comparative analyses of compatible and incompatible wheat infections of closely related Zymoseptoria species. Effectors are secreted molecules that manipulate host plant physiology in order to facilitate pathogen growth and reproduction. We aim to study the functional role of these candidate effectors by reverse genetics approaches and plant infection experiments.

Relevant papers:

Poppe S, Dorsheimer L, Happel P and Stukenbrock EH. 2015. Rapidly Evolving Genes are Key Players in Host Specialization and Virulence of the Fungal Wheat Pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici (Mycosphaerella graminicola). PLoS Pathog 11(7): e1005055.

Highly flexible infection programs in a fungal plant pathogen. Haueisen J, Moeller M, Eschenbrenner CJ, Grandaubert J, Seybold H, Adamiak H, Stukenbrock EH. 2018. Evolution and Ecology. 1–20. doi:10.1002/ece3.4724.

Identifying host range of Zymoseptoria spp. in domesticated and wild grasses (with Wagner Fagundes and Janine Haueisen)

Host infection is a crucial step for the completion of life cycle for many fungal plant pathogens and therefore identifying the host range of such organisms is extremely relevant. The genus Zymoseptoria comprises fungal plant pathogens of different grass species, in which Z. tritici  represents an important pathogen of wheat. We have identified a population of Zymoseptoria spp. infecting wild, uncultivated grass hosts from the genus Aegilops spp. in Iran. Similarly, another population of Zymoseptoria spp. has been isolated from domesticated wheat, also sampled in Iran.  We aim to identify the host range of these populations through comparative grass infection assays using cultivated wheat (Triticum aestivum), several Aegilops species as A. tauschii and A. geniculata and other wild grasses under greenhouse or phytochamber conditions.  

Relevant papers:

Kumar, A., Kapoor, P., Chunduri, V., Sharma, S., & Garg, M. (2019). Potential of Aegilops sp. for improvement of grain processing and nutritional quality in wheat (Triticum aestivum). Frontiers in plant science, 10, 308.

Stukenbrock, E. H., Quaedvlieg, W., Javan-Nikhah, M., Zala, M., Crous, P. W., & McDonald, B. A. (2012). Zymoseptoria ardabiliae and Z. pseudotritici, two progenitor species of the septoria tritici leaf blotch fungus Z. tritici (synonym: Mycosphaerella graminicola). Mycologia, 104(6), 1397-1407.

Diversity of yeast-killer-viruses in natural populations of Saccharomyces paradoxus (with Benjamin Claassen)

Yeast-killer-viruses infect a broad range of different microbial species. These viruses enable their host cells to secrete a toxin that kills nearby sensitive cells while conferring immunity to the host.

While we know that there are several different strains of viruses, we don’t know much about their diversity, distribution and evolutionary dynamics. To answer these questions, we are investigating a local population of the wild yeast Saccharomyces paradoxus, that harbors multiple different strains of yeast-killer-viruses.

Relevant publications:

Schmitt MJ, Breinig F. Yeast viral killer toxins: lethality and self-protection. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2006 Mar;4(3):212-21. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1347. PMID: 16489348.

Boynton PJ, Kowallik V, Landermann D, Stukenbrock EH. Quantifying the efficiency and biases of forest Saccharomyces sampling strategies. Yeast. 2019 Nov;36(11):657-668. doi: 10.1002/yea.3435. Epub 2019 Aug 6. PMID: 31348543.

Masters Thesis Projects:

Msc thesis project in collaboration with the EnvGen group and the company Strube Research

This project will focus on fungicide resistance evolution of the fungus Cercospora beticola that causes spot disease on sugar beet. The master project will involve the collection of field isolates from different places in Germany and detailed characterization of their sensitivity to fungicides using molecular methods. Please contact Eva for more information: estukenbrock [a] bot.uni-kiel.de

Establishment of an experimental system to assess host range and virulence of  Z. passerinii on wild to domesticated barley

contact: Idalia Rojas (rojas [a] evolbio.mpg.de)

Wild hosts constitute an unknown reservoir of infectious organisms for humans and domesticated species, despite this fact, there is a gap of knowledge of the evolutionary dynamics of pathogens in wild ecosystems. The fungal plant pathogen Zymoseptoria passerinii causes septoria speckled leaf blotch (SSLB) on both, wild (Hordeum spontaneum), and domesticated barley (Hordeum vulgare) species.  We hypothesized that Z. passerinii shifted host during the domestication of H. vulgare in the Fertile Crescent, and this event was followed by the specialization in the new host. In this project, we propose to establish an experimental system to assess the host range and quantify the virulence of Z. passerinii on wild and domesticated barley accessions.

Relevant references:

Burdon, J. J., and P. H. Thrall. “What Have We Learned from Studies of Wild Plant-Pathogen Associations?—the Dynamic Interplay of Time, Space and Life-History.” European Journal of Plant Pathology / European Foundation for Plant Pathology, vol. 138, no. 3, Mar. 2014, pp. 417–29.

Stukenbrock, Eva H., Thomas Bataillon, et al. “The Making of a New Pathogen: Insights from Comparative Population Genomics of the Domesticated Wheat Pathogen Mycosphaerella Graminicola and Its Wild Sister Species.” Genome Research, vol. 21, no. 12, Dec. 2011, pp. 2157–66.

Effect of recombination on meiotic drive of accessory chromosomes of Zymoseptoria tritici
contact: Michael Habig (mhabig [a] bot.uni-kiel.de)

Physiologie der Pflanzen biol-111: 

Skript Übung 2019
The plant microbiota: Systems-level insights and perspectives

Lecture 1
Lecture 2
Lecture 3

Gallerie von AM-Fotos

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