Regine Kahmann elected president of the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions

July 25, 2016

The International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions (IS-MPMI) is the largest international society dedicated to promote interdisciplinary science to understand how microbes, parasitic plants, nematodes and insect pests interact with plants to cause disease or stimulate plant growth. At the recent Congress in Portland, Oregon, Regine Kahmann was elected president of IS-MPMI for the next three years.

A major task of the president together with the board of directors is to organize the biennial Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. The Congress usually has more than 1000 participants and has been held throughout the world, with most recent locations in the US, Greece and Japan. This congress is the premier forum for announcing and discussing the most innovative scientific discoveries elucidating the molecular events by which plants and microbes interact. The congress covers research on a wide range of pathogens from viruses, phytoplasma, bacteria, fungi, nematodes to parasitic plants as well as bacterial and fungal symbionts of plants and the plant microbiome. On the plant side important aspects include microbial recognition, defense responses and how these are regulated, and compatibility factors. Other topics covered are microbial effectors and how they manipulate plant processes, inter-kingdom signaling, RNA-mediated interactions and host-microbe co-evolution. While the emphasis lies strongly on the mechanistic side, applied aspects like resistance breeding and emergence of new and/or more virulent pathogens and biocontrol are also covered.

Prof. Dr. Regine Kahmann is director of the Department “Organismic Interactions” at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology. Her goal is to provide a mechanistic molecular understanding of how fungi manage to infect plants. Her prime model is the biotrophic fungus Ustilago maydis, a parasite of corn. U. maydis secretes a large cocktail of mostly completely novel effector proteins that are used to suppress plant immune responses and to reprogram the metabolism of the host plant. She strives to unravel the molecular function of these novel effectors, how they have evolved in the arms-race between pathogen and host and how their expression is regulated.

For more information about IS-MPMI, please visit http://www.ismpmi.org/Pages/default.aspx

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