During my studies in general biology (BSc TU Braunschweig, Germany) and Cellular and Molecular Biology of Plants (MSc Eberhard Karls Universität Tuebingen, Germany) I focused on plant sciences from large scale ecology to small scale molecular mechanisms.
Since I visited SLU during an exchange within my BSc studies in 2014, I am interested in the interactions of fungal pathogens with their corresponding host plants. A special interest of mine is how the switch of a latent pathogen from its "endophytic" stage to being an active pathogen is activated.
The focus of my thesis project is to investigate and understand environmental and mechanistic factors leading to the establishment and outbreaks of Diplodia tip blight (Diplodia sapinea) affecting Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) in Swedish forestlands.
This (latent) fungal pathogen is present in pine growing areas world wide - it was mainly causing damages to the forest industry in the Southern Hemisphere until quite recently. Since the 50's the disease is moving more and more northern, until researchers at the Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology found first evidence of Diplodia tip blight in Sweden in 2013. A first large-scale outbreak was found in 2016, what underlined the importance of understanding 1) how the disease could potentially develop under conditions of the Northern Hemisphere and 2) factors that cause potential establishment of Diplodia tip blight in Sweden. Worldwide, drought stress induced diseases like Diplodia tip blight will be more likely to cause severe damages under the scope of climate change, what is equally likely to be expected in Sweden.