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Lars Hestbjerg Hansen

Head of the Environmental Microbial Genomics group, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen

Presentation title: How to study Microbiome Assisted Triticum Resilience In X-dimensions?

Lars Hestbjerg Hansen’s Environmental Microbial Genomics (EMG) group uses molecular and sequencing based approaches to investigate complex questions in microbial ecology in both basic and applied sciences. Main fields of research include how bacteria perceive their environment, interact with genetic parasites, such as bacteriophages (phages) and plasmids, and adapt to environmental changes via genetic rearrangements. DNA sequencing is the favourite tool for investigating bacterial, phage and plasmid genetic diversity in research related to environmental settings, plants and human health.


Plant associated microbiomes arguably play a big role in plant resilience. The complexity of the interactions between the environment, the host and the microorganisms, approach astronomical proportions, and traditional microbiomics is often insufficiently detailed to decipher this complexity. Three recently funded projects, collectively named the Collaborative Crop Resilience Program (CCRP), aim to thoroughly investigate how metabolites, microorganisms and the host interact in the complex matrix of wheat. One of these projects, “The MATRIX”, focuses on the abundant, but poorly studied, plant/microbial interactions occurring above ground. In fact, to reach the target of a complete system description, we aim to sample just the flag leaves of wheat in order to explore how to fully integrate multiple types of data into a deep-learning model, predictive of the influence of hub microbes and metabolites on wheat resilience and yield. Here, I outline the ideas and plans behind The MATRIX. I highlight preliminary challenges and findings of flag leaf biological components. These include at least one set of biological entities that have gained little to no attention as keystone regulatory components in plant associated microbiomes.