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Marieke Elfferich

PhD candidate

During my Biology BSc at Leiden University, I developed a strong interest in Plant-Microbe Interactions, which led to a research internship in the group of Martijn on endophytes in Jacobaea vulgaris. When I decided to also do my Biology MSc at Leiden University, I wanted to explore other research areas connected to plants as well, so I did an internship at the Botanical Garden of Delft on movement mechanisms in plants, and I did an internship at Naturalis on orchid mycorrhizal development. However, I missed the microbes in the first internship, and the practical application in the second.


Now I am back on my favourite research topic of Plant-Microbe Interactions with a very applied project on “Steering soil microbiomes for better crop quality: the holy grail to improve human health”, where we want to combine research on the soil-, plant- and gut microbiome to improve crop quality and human health.


Luckily, I don’t have to do this all by myself. I am only responsible for the plant-part of this project while my colleagues dive into the soil- or human health parts of this project. The main focus of my PhD is to investigate the influence of soil- and plant microbiomes on the plant metabolome. If you want to learn more about the whole project, you can also take a look at

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