The Food Fix: Superplants, Microbe Sidekicks and Nutrient Heroes

The battle for food security has begun, but research is coming to the rescue.

Global food systems are under pressure on a scale previously unencountered. A crisis is looming, fueled by population growth, climate change, water scarcity, energy supply and now the pandemic. The world must feed an estimated population of 9 billion by 2050 with diminishing natural resources while also ensuring the health of people and the planet.

Luckily, emerging technologies and new research are coming to the rescue. Join us Tuesday, May 4 at 12 PM to hear from Prof. Dr. Alga Zuccaro and Prof. Dr. Mechthild Tegeder, two scientists researching how microbes and genetic tools can boost plant performance.

Hear how microbes are being transformed into plant warrior sidekicks and how understanding the plant-nutrient relationship might maximize crop yields.

Establishing food security requires a deeper understanding of how plants work, the function and health of ecological and agricultural systems and projected plant responses to climate change and other environmental stresses. Explore these topics together with us.

This talk highlights the work of the Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences at the University of Cologne, funded by the German Research Foundation.

About Our Experts:

Alga Zuccaro is Professor of Microbial Ecological Genetics at the Institute for Plant Sciences at the University of Cologne and the coordinator of the research area on plant microbiota metabolic networks and edaphic adaptation at the Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS). Zuccaro is an international expert in fungal effector biology, fungal-root symbioses and evolution research. Understanding the function of effectors secreted by beneficial root symbionts and identifying their plant and microbial targets are currently priority areas for her research. Zuccaro’s team has made substantial contributions to the understanding of root-microbe interactions and the balance between pathogenesis and mutualism.
Prof. Dr. Alga Zuccaro, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
Mechthild Tegeder is the Herbert L. Eastlick Distinguished Professor in Plant Molecular Physiology at the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University. Dr. Tegeder is an international leader in plant nitrogen research and has been at the forefront of fundamental research on amino acid and ureide transporter function in plants. Dr. Tegeder and co-workers have identified key players in nitrogen partitioning from soil to seeds and discovered that changes in nitrogen transport strongly affect primary metabolism and lead the physiological adjustments at the whole plant level. An overall goal of Dr. Tegeder’s research is to improve plant performance, food yields and nutritional quality by altering nutrient allocation within the plant.
Prof. Dr. Mechthild Tegeder, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington

Event Recording

Event Recording

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With Welcome Remarks by:

Dr.-Ing. Georg Bechtold, Program Director, DFG Office North America

Dr. Kathrin DiPaola, Program Manager, DWIH New York

Moderated by:

Dr. Eva Bosbach, Executive Director, University of Cologne New York Office


The web-talk and Q&A will be held online on Webex Meetings. The event is free, but registration  is required; a special access link to the meeting will be sent out the morning of the event. For help on how to join a Webex Meeting, see our step-by-step guide.

This event is part of the Transatlantic Tandem Talks series:

The Transatlantic Tandem Talks are hosted on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the North America office of the University of Cologne in New York in the year 2021 in cooperation with its partners the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in New York, the German Embassy in Washington D.C., Deutsches Haus at NYU, DAAD New York, the German Research Foundation (DFG) North America, the German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH) New York, 1014 Space for Ideas, the Goethe Institute New York, AmerikaHaus NRW, and Wunderbar Together.

Event Information

May 4, 2021, 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Organizer(s): University of Cologne, DFG, German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH) New York