Plant-microbiome interactions for a sustainable future at Biologisk Institut - Københavns Universitet

Project type: Master

Modern agricultural practices, in a period facing profound climate changes and a growing population, are neither sustainable nor sufficient. The extensive use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers creates serious risks to biodiversity, soil health, water quality and human health. The transition to sustainable and climate-neutral cropping systems demands biological alternatives to agro-chemicals. Modern agriculture, due to its dependence on chemical input, has largely ignoredthe presence of- and interactions between- the plant and its microbiome. Plants form complex associations with diverse microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and viruses (the plant microbiome) to meet their needs, such as, nutrient uptake, stress tolerance and disease resilience. In our research, we study the assembly of- and interactions between- microorganisms harboured in one of the most diverse microbial environments, the plant-soil nexus. We also investigate the role of the host microbiome in plant growth promotion and plant protection.

Types of projects:

The applicant will join Professor Søren Sørensen’s research group, at the Section of Microbiology, where research benefits from strong interdisciplinary and international collaborations on projects that:

Study the acquisition and selection of the plant microbiome from the environment

Compare the microbiome assembly between domesticated and native plants

Explore the temporal and spatial heterogeneity in the root microbiome development

Identify networks of collaborating microbes that synergistically prevent plant pathogens

Develop synthetic microbiomes targeted for specific community functions

Techniques covered:

Classical microbiology

In-vitro and in-vivo assays

Microcosms experiments

  • Fluorescent activated cell sorting

PCR and qPCR



For more information, please contact:
Tanvi Taparia (
Søren Sørensen (


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