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NOVA PhD Course "Biotrophy in Plant Pathogens - from Recognition to Ecology" - Extended Application Deadline

  • Photo: 
    Lise Nistrup Jørgensen, Aarhus University

The course will take place on 29 Apr. - 4 May 2018, in Skælskør, Zealand, Denmark.
Deadline for applications: 21 February 2018 (NB! New)

The course is of 4 ECTS and is organised by Mogens Støvring Hovmøller, Professor, Aarhus University - Science and Technology.

NOVA course information web page

Apply here

Course Description

This is the  second course in the NOVA PhD course series "Plant Pathology with a Nordic Dimension", which is scheduled for 2017-2020. The series consist of four courses, each within different disciplines in plant pathology. The course in 2018 has the following topic:

Biotrophy in Plant Pathogens - from Recognition to Ecology
Focus is on plant interactions with biotrophic pathogens aiming at understanding plant defence reactions, pathogen effector biology and the ecology of biotrophic plant pathogens.

Course Description
The course to be given in 2018 has a focus on interactions between the host plant and biotrophic pathogens aiming at understanding pathogen effector biology, defence responses of the host plant, how the plant accommodate and feed the pathogen, and the ecology of biotrophs in natural and/or agricultural cropping systems. Effector biology has become an important theme for biotrophic and other pathogens due to large-scale identification of effector candidates through genome- and transcriptome sequencing. At the course, we will give an overview of how effectors play their roles, how they interact with targets in the plant, how they evolve and how they can be studied in different pathosystems. Biotrophic interactions will be studied from early recognition through defence signalling to execution of various defence reactions at both genetic, molecular and cellular levels. We will discuss the zig-zag model and how it impacts on biotrophy, resistance based on single R-genes as well as non-host resistance. This is important in relation to pathogen populations and how new virulent pathogen strains may evolve. Phenotypic host responses at both microscopic and macroscopic levels will be considered, including how biotrophic fungi interact with resistant and susceptible host plants. The utilization of R-genes in practical plant breeding and in evaluation of disease resistance in official variety testing will be demonstrated. The ecology of biotrophic rust fungi in natural and agricultural cropping systems will be examined by studying the role and prevalence of the primary hosts year round, and by the particular role of alternate (sexual) hosts in cereal rust epidemiology.    

Each course in the course series includes definitions, terms, concepts and theories within the plant pathology disciplines reflected in the course title. Two main themes will be the core of each course schedule. Cases with special relevance for the Nordic zone will have highest priority. Understanding plant pathogen interactions and biocontrol at the molecular level will be prioritised embracing genomics, transcriptome and gene expression studies. Importance of cell wall degrading enzymes, effector molecules and secondary metabolites will be addressed. Discussions of biocontrol, epidemiology, population dynamics and plant resistance as part of integrated pest management will be part of each course.

For the course to be given in 2018

  • Two-three lectures by international teachers, Pietro Spanu, Imperial College, London, and Hans Thordal-Christensen, University of Copenhagen
  • Nordic teachers will each give lectures on the topic of their expertise (see below) and participate in group work and poster sessions.
  • Students will present their own research and act as opponents in poster session.
  • Exercise  group work will be part of the course.
  • Students will study appointed literature prior to the course and discuss them in groups (local teachers will participate).
  • Excursion to Aarhus University, Flakkebjerg Research Center  – 15 km from the course site
  • Nice discussion atmosphere will be facilitated during all learning moments.

 Main topics 2018

  • Population biology and ecology
  • Effector biology
  • Defence responses of the host plant

Main Teachers:

  • Pietro Spanu, Professor, Imperial College, London, UK
  • Hans Thordahl Christensen, Professor, Copenhagen University; Denmark
  • Annemarie Fejer Justesen, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Carsten Pedersen, Copenhagen University, Denmark
  • Additional Nordic teachers (to be updated)

Please find more information on the course and on how to apply here:

Published 19. December 2017 - 16:58 - Updated 3. April 2018 - 15:41