Prof. Nicole van Dam

New IGZ Scientific Director

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Prof. Nicole van Dam
Prof. Nicole van Dam

Prof. Dr. Nicole van Dam took over as the new Scientific Director of the Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ) from 1 October 2022.

The renowned researcher is a professor at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Institute of Biodiversity and has headed the “Molecular Interaction Ecology” research group at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig since 2014. She is an expert in the field of chemical plant ecology and studies the interaction between plants and other organisms above ground and in the root zone.

Nicole van Dam will head the new IGZ research group “Plants Biotic Interactions”. Their research mission is to decipher molecular and chemical mechanisms that control the interactions between plants and their biotic environment.

To this end, results from studies of plant genes and the constituents formed in plants are combined with measurements of plant and insect performance. The plant samples needed will be collected from experiments in greenhouses and gardens, as well as from natural and agricultural ecosystems.

The ultimate goal is to understand the role of mechanisms in the plant that enhance its performance. These include chemical diversity and plant resistance coping with insect pests.

The knowledge gained forms the scientific basis for sustainable crop production and the reduction of pesticide use, one of the main goals of the European Union’s “From Farm-to-Fork Strategy”.