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Dan Funck Jensen

Dan Funck Jensen
Professor in Plant Pathology


I have been at SLU since April 2008 following a decision made by the NL-faculty to strengthen research in plant pathology with focus on agricultural crops. Before that I served as an associate professor in plant pathology at University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Life Sciences. My research in Denmark was focussing on root pathology, seed borne pathogens and post harvest diseases - with the main effort on biological control. Pathogens belonging to the genera Pythium, Fusarium, Botrytis, Alternaria, Mycocentrospora and Colletotrichum were in focus. Biocontrol work included isolation, screening, selection, production, formulation and delivery of biocontrol agents (BCAs) as well as efficacy testing under field and greenhouse conditions. Research relevant for risk assessments and EU registration of BCAs was also addressed. More basic research concerned microbial ecology of BCAs including molecular interactions with their host fungal pathogen.

Since my start at SLU we have built up a new research team of 5 researchers + 4 PhD-students. In this we have gathered complementing methodological competences so we now have a platform for exploiting technologies with filamentous fungi such as: Fungal transformation & gene constructions, DNA reporter technology (GFP, DsRed etc.), advanced fluorescent microscopy, gene knock outs and complementation, arrays and quantitative PCR, fungal characterization and diagnostic molecular tools as well as methods in evolutionary genetics. We are also building up expertise in genomics and transcriptomics for studying community structures and their function, and gene expression in fungal host interactions. Several genomes including Clonostacys rosea and Phytophthora spp. have been sequenced and annotated in the research group and analysis of several transcriptomes from biocontrol or plant pathogen interactions are studied. 

Building on these competences we have made a research strategy with the following main areas in focus:
  • Biocontrol: Fungal-Fungal interactions in relation to biological control of plant diseases - studied at the level of gene expression/function in mycoparasitism
  • Pathogenicity: Fungal pathogen – Plant host interaction and the effect of biocontrol interactions (three way interactions)
  • Cropping system and soil management: Microbial community structures and function in relation to plant health
  • The role of biocontrol in IPM strategies - efficacy and importance of bioconrol in avoiding fungicide resistance

The biological control program has origin in important disease problems in agriculture including root/stem base diseases, seed borne pathogens, pathogens infecting leaf and flowers and post harvest diseases. The research is trying to elucidate the basic biology in biocontrol interactions between pathogens, the host plant and biocontrol organisms (BCAs). Special attention is given to Trichoderma- based and Clonostachys rosea based BCAs which has proven efficient in controlling several plant diseases in agricultural- and horticultural crops. We are interested in how the BCAs are attacking the pathogens and also how they can protect themselves in interactions with the plant pathogens. Our understanding of how BCAs can be compatible with existing technologies such as application with fungicides in full or reduced dosages will be another outcome of our work (i.e. part of IPM strategies).

More practical aspects of exploiting biological disease control of diseases in agricultural crops are now addressed in collaboration with the agro industry and end users.

I am involved in teaching plant pathology at all levels (BSc, MSc and PhD) and was responsible for the MSc. course “Plant Pathology” running in the autumn at SLU-Ultuna 2009-2020. Read more on our Teaching pages.


Professor emeritus at the Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology; Division of Plant Pathology
Postal address:
Skoglig mykologi och växtpatologi , Box 7026
750 07 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Almas Allé 5, Uppsala