Former lab members

Dawn Little, postdoc (2003-2006)



Dawn worked on two projects: the CAGE database for genomic expression in Arabidopsis and the gene expression changes resulting from oviposition by Pieris butterflies on Arabidopsis.

Following positions:
– specialist for regulatory affairs, Novartis, Nyon
– regulatory affairs manager,  GSK consumer healthcare, Nyon
– director of regulatory affairs, Sophia Genetics, Rolle


Natacha Bodenhausen, PhD student (2002-2007)


Natacha studied the signaling pathways involved in the plant response to insect herbivory. Using available Arabidopsis mutants lacking important defense signals, she studied gene expression changes with microarrays and tried to correlate transcript profiles with insect performance in order to assess the effect of plant defenses on insect growth.

Following positions:
– postdoc with Joy Bergelson, Chicago University
– postdoc with Julia Vorholt at ETHZ, department of Microbiology
– research scientist at Agroscope, Reckenholz, Zurich
– scientist at FIBL, Frick


Floriane Consales, master student (2007)


Floriane was interested in plant-insects co-evolution. She showed that insects are able to weaken plants defenses in the case of an attack. Indeed application of oral secretions to wounded leaves suppressed the induction of two defense-related genes.

Following  positions:
– technician at the Genomics Platform, UNIL
– research assistant at SwissDeCode, Renens
– senior lab technician at Sophia Genetics, Rolle


Wouter Kegge, master student (2008)


Wouter tested the role of G-proteins in defense against herbivores.
Following positions:
– PhD student, Utrecht University
– post-doc at Wageningen University, The Netherlands
– configuration management expert at ASML, Arnhem, The Netherlands


Frédéric Masclaux, postdoc (2006-2009)


Fred worked on the detection of neighbors and on competition in Arabidopsis plants, as part of an interdisciplinary research project with Laurent Keller (funded by the Research Committee of the FBM). He found that competitive ability and not kinship is the main factor controlling growth in plant-plant interactions.

Following positions:
– postdoc, IST, University of Lausanne
– postdoc at the DEE, University of Lausanne, with Ian Sanders
– bioinformatician, Service of medical genetics, Geneva University Hospital


Friederike Bruessow, PhD student (2007-2011)


Friederike discovered that egg deposition on Arabidopsis leaves inhibits defenses against caterpillars through antagonism between SA and the JA pathways.

Following position:
– postdoc at MPI Köln with Jane Parker
– communication management support, Syngenta


Fabian Schweizer, PhD student (2007-2012)


Fabian studied the involvement of Arabidopsis transcription factors in defense against herbivory. He revealed a crucial role for MYC2, MYC3, and MYC4 as master regulators of defense gene expression in the JA pathway.

Following positions:
– postdoc in the group of Laurent Zimmerli (Taipei), innate immunity in plants.
– postdoc in the group of Alain Goossens (VIB, Ghent, BE), funded by FNS and EMBO fellowships. Regulation of secondary metabolism in Catharanthus roseus.


Merel Steenbergen, visiting student (2012-2013)


Merel was a master student from Utrecht University (group Saskia van Wees). She visited our group as part of an internship from September 2012 to April 2013. Merel studied how insect eggs negatively impact the jasmonate pathway.

Following position:
– PhD, Utrecht University
– scientist at Chrysal International BV, The Netherlands


Camilo Ayra-Pardo, visiting scientist (2014)


Camilo visited the lab for 3 months (9-11.2014), funded by a grant from the FNS International Short Visits program. At the time of the visit, he was Senior researcher, head of environmental biotechnology laboratory in the Plant Department of the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Havana, Cuba

Current position: Associate Professor, Henan Provincial Engineering Laboratory of Insect Bio-reactor, Nanyang University, China


Aurelia Emonet, master student (2014)


Aurélia was a master student from the MLS master program of the University of Lausanne. She worked in the lab on plant defense signalling in response to insect oviposition in Arabidopsis.

Following positions:
– PhD student in the group of prof. Niko Geldner, DBMV, Lausanne
– post-doc with Dr. Angela Hay, MPI-Koln 


Christelle Bonnet, PhD student FNS (2011-2016)

chistelle 2

Christelle did a whole-genome expression profiling of Arabidopsis and Brassica nigra plants that are challenged with different attackers. This project is part of an ESF-funded consortium (EUROVOL) that studies plant volatile emission in response to multiple biotic and abiotic stresses.

Current position: plant science manager, Japan International Tobacco, Geneva


André Schmiesing, PhD student FNS (2011-2016)


André worked on the characterization of egg-derived elicitors and on plant defense signalling in response to insect oviposition in Arabidopsis.

Following positions:
– scientist in phytopathology at Strube Research, Söllingen, Germany
– consultant, federal office of consumers rights and food security, Braunschweig, Germany


Steve Lassueur, lab technician (2008-2016)


Steve was trained as a technician in the DBMV from 2008 to 2011. He worked until 2016 on the ESF project, helping Christelle with microarray analyses of Brassica nigra samples and also studied SA- and JA-pathway crosstalk in response to oviposition in Arabidopsis.

Current position: senior lab technician, Nestlé Institute of Health Science, EPFL, Lausanne


Olivier Hilfiker, PhD student (2012-2017)


Olivier graduated from Lausanne University. He carried-out his Master project in our group on the role of egg-derived elicitors in triggering defenses against microbial pathogens in Arabidopsis. For his PhD, he studied mechanisms of egg-induced protection against bacterial infections.

Current position: scientist at Philipp Morris International, Neuchâtel


Marion Rebeaud, apprentice (2016-2017)

Manon spent one year in our group as part of her apprenticeship of lab technician.

Current position:  lab technician at the CHUV, Lausanne


Sarah Ranty, visiting student (spring 2017), master student (January-June 2019)

Sarah spent a few months in our lab in 2017 to learn about molecular plant-insect interactions. She returned in 2019 to do her Master II and worked on egg-induced SA/JA crosstalk.

Current position: PhD student in Sophia Agrobiotech Institute, Antibes


Fabian Schweizer, advanced postdoc (2017-2019)


During his PhD in the group, Fabian studied the involvement of Arabidopsis transcription factors in defense against herbivory. He revealed a crucial role for MYC2, MYC3, and MYC4 as master regulators of defense gene expression in the JA pathway. After a short stay in the group of Laurent Zimmerli in Taipei, he joined the group of Alain Goossens (VIB, Ghent, BE) as postdoc, funded by FNS and EMBO fellowships. Fabian studied the regulation of secondary metabolism in Catharanthus roseus. Back in the group under the “return grant” program of the FNS, he studied the role of secondary metabolism against herbivory in Marchantia polymorpha.

Current position: scientist at Fenaco, Moudon


Raphaël Groux, PhD student (2015- 2019)


Raphaël graduated from the MLS master program of the University of Lausanne. He studied the hypersensitive response that is induced by Pieris brassicae eggs on Arabidopsis and exploited Arabidopsis natural variation to discover new genes regulating this response.

Current position: scientist at Agroscope, Changins




Zigmunds Orlovskis, postdoc (2017-2020)

Zigmunds studied in Latva and then obtained his PhD in Norwich (John Innes Center) in the group of Saskia Hogenhout, working on the role of a bacterial (phytoplasma) effector protein SAP54 in altering plant development and enhancing plant colonisation by its insect vector. Zigmunds joined the group to work on inter-plant responses triggered by insect oviposition in Arabidopsis and discovered egg-induced interplant SAR.

Current position: lecturer position at the University in Riga, Latvia


Esteban Alfonso, PhD student (2016-2021 )


Esteban started in the group as a master student from the MLS master program of the University of Lausanne. He then studied P. brassicae egg-induced systemic acquired resistance against Botrytis cinerea in Arabidopsis and established a role for indolic metabolism in this response.

Current position: scientist at Technical school for HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, Changins