Henk-jan studies the interaction between the plant pathogenic fungus Botrytis cinerea with various host plants.
His current interests involve exploiting secondary metabolites for plant defence and is focused on the role of ABC transporters and oxalic acid as pathogenicity factors.
Previously he studied how oxalic acid interferes with plant defences, and more recently Henk-jan has been involved in PRR-Crop. This project comprises the characterisation of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) which detect conserved pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) in bacteria, oomycetes and fungi. PAMPs are essential, conserved molecules in microbial pathogens, that cannot be mutated or lost.
PRRs could enable durable, broad-spectrum disease control in crops.
Currently Henk-jan also works on mechanisms in Quantitative Disease Resistance in Brassica crops and UV-B induced resistance.
Within the ERA-CAPS project MAQBAT: Mechanistic Analysis of Quantitative Disease Resistance in Brassica by Associative Transcriptomics, Henk-jan is doing the PTI assays in Norwich and coordinating disease assays and on the 192 Brassica napus lines at the other labs.
This work aims to identify genomic regions and mechanisms contributing to broad spectrum resistance by Genome Wide Association studies (GWAS) using association transcriptomics.