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Corné Pieterse

Utrecht University, NL

Corné Pieterse is Scientific Director Institute of Environmental Biology and Head of Plant-Microbe Interactions research group at the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University. Research in the Plant-Microbe Interactions group is focused on how the plant immune system protects plants against microbial pathogens and insect herbivores, and how beneficial microbes in the plant root microbiome stimulate plant growth and health. Special emphasis is placed on molecular mechanisms of plant-beneficial functions that are encoded by the root microbiome, the role of plant genes that aid in maximizing profitable functions from the root microbiome, and crosstalk between plant defense hormones. Research of the group aims to contribute to the grand societal challenges food security and sustainable agriculture.


  • 2006: Full Professor Plant-Microbe Interactions, Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • 1993: PhD degree Phytopathology, Wageningen University, Netherlands
  • 1988: MSc Plant Breeding and Plant Molecular Biology, Wageningen University, Netherlands


Current and past positions

  • 2015-present: Distinguished Professor Faculty of Science, Utrecht University
  • 2009-present: Scientific Director Institute of Environmental Biology, Utrecht University
  • 2006-present: Head Plant-Microbe Interactions group, Utrecht University
  • 1998-2006: Assistant Professor Molecular Phytopathology, Utrecht University
  • 1993-1998: Postdoc Phytopathology, Utrecht University
  • 1989-1993: PhD student Phytopathology, Wageningen University

Selected awards

  • 2016: Distinguished Visiting Scientist Fellowship, CSIRO, Australia
  • 2016: OECD Research Fellowship, University of Queensland, Australia
  • 2014-present: ISI Thompson Reuter Highly Cited Researcher
  • 2013: Elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
  • 2010: Awarded ERC Advanced Investigator Grant
  • 2004: Awarded VICI fellowship for innovative research by Netherlands Science Organization

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