Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Grant opens door to decipher the secret sensory world of plants

Plants not only sense when they are touched, but they can also adapt to it. For example, by strengthening or defending themselves. But how do plants do this? The Green TE (Green Tissue Engineering) consortium has been granted a Gravitation grant of almost 23 million euros to investigate exactly this.

The sense of touch in plants is under scrutiny: how can they register touches? Whether it’s a fungus attempting to invade the plant, a person walking over grass, or wind blowing through leaves. The plant detects it and reacts accordingly.

Simulation of plant tissue in VirtualLeaf. Source: Lebovka et al.
Simulation of plant tissue in VirtualLeaf. Source: Lebovka et al.

Modeling and simulations for more insight

The subsidy brings together researchers from many areas of expertise. ‘In Leiden, we contribute to modeling biomechanics in plant tissues,’ says researcher Roeland Merks. ‘We will work closely with our partners, and further develop our “Virtual Leaf” simulation tool.’

For the research institutions IBL and MI, this means a significant strengthening of mathematical biology in the next ten years: a postdoc and a PhD student for the first five years, and another set in the second five-year period.

Read more on this upcoming research in WUR’s press release.

The GreenTE consortium will be led by researchers Dolf Weijers and Joris Sprakel of Wageningen University & Research. They work together with scientists of our university, and those of Utrecht University, Radboud University Nijmegen, Technical University Eindhoven, Groningen University and VU Amsterdam.

Photo header: Chang Qinq (Unsplash)

This website uses cookies.  More information.