European Plant Science Retreat 2018

Utrecht University

EPSR 2018 is organized at Utrecht University, one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands. First established in 1636, it now provides education to more than 30,000 students, and has over 550 PhD graduations each year.

Since 2014, 25 research groups have started collaborating on what is a prime focus area of Utrecht University: Future Food Utrecht. Multidisciplinary research aims at providing future food security, and takes part in the European Foodnexus consortium. This research is performed from all institutes of the university, from plant sciences at the basis, and consumer behavior and psychology at the end of the market chain.

Three plant science research groups join in the future food focus area. PhD students from the following groups form this year’s organization committee for the EPSR:

Molecular Plant Physiology

We investigate sugar-, light- and high temperature-mediated signal transduction mechanisms and how this controls growth, in plants. In addition, we study carbon metabolism. These processes are investigated using molecular, genetical and physiological methods in the model system Arabidopsis and crops.

Plant Ecophysiology

We focus on physiological and molecular mechanisms that enable plants to cope with flooding stress and/or dense, competitive environments. These stress conditions induce changes in plant growth and metabolism, helping plants to adapt to high water levels or to outcompete neighbors in dense vegetations.

Plant-Microbe Interactions

We aim to unravel at the molecular level how the plant immune system orchestrates interactions with beneficial microbes, pathogens and insects. This provides a rational basis for developing sustainable strategies for disease resistance in next-generation crops that produce more with less input of fertilizers or pesticides.