Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Research in the media

New research results

Researchers discover how plants distinguish beneficial from harmful microbes

Legume plants know their friends from their enemies, and now we know how they do it at the molecular level. Plants recognize beneficial microbes and keep harmful ones out, which is important for healthy plants production and global food security. Scientists have now discovered how legumes use small, well-defined motifs in receptor proteins to read molecular signals produced by both pathogenic and symbiotic microbes. These remarkable findings have enabled the researchers to reprogram immune receptors into symbiotic receptors, which is the first milestone for engineering symbiotic nitrogen-fixing symbiosis into cereal crops.

Scientists identified a new signaling component important for plant symbiosis

A proteomics-based protein-protein interaction study has led to the discovery of proteins that interact with a legume receptor that mediates signal transduction from the plasma membrane to the nucleus. This shows how symbiotic signals from symbiotic bacteria are transmitted upon perception, ultimately leading to their accommodation within the host plant.

New receptor involved in symbiosis between legumes and nitrogen-fixing rhizobia identified

Legumes are able to grow in nitrogen-poor soils due to their ability to engage in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. There is a great interest in using the knowledge about this symbiosis, to enable transfer to other non-symbiotic plants. An international research team has come a step further to understanding this complex biological process.


A mutation giving leaves with white spots has been identified

Garden and potted plants with white spots on their leaves are so popular that they are specially selected for this feature. An international research team has now identified a new mutation in the plant Lotus japonicus which gives leaves with white spots. These results could be important for the improvement of garden and potted plants.


Researchers discover how bacteria sweet-talk their way into plants

An international team of researchers has discovered how legumes are able to tell helpful and harmful invading bacteria apart. The research has implications for improving the understanding of how other plants, animals and humans interact with bacteria in their environment and defend themselves against hostile infections. These findings can have profound implications for both agricultural research and medical science.

Read the news article.


Small adrenal tumours cause high blood pressure

In collaboration with national and international experts, researchers from Aarhus University have revealed new fundamental features of biomolecular interactions that enable plants to identify and respond appropriately to microorganisms. The new results provide a better understanding of the mechanisms governing the ability of plants to interact with beneficial microorganisms while being resistant to pathogenic bacteria and fungi. This could have implications for future sustainable agriculture, where useful microorganisms are increasingly sought to replace pesticides.

Read the news article.


Keep it simple: symbiosis in plants goes back to basics

A new discovery of a simpler single-cell infection mechanism may improve our understanding of how legumes control infection by the beneficial bacteria called Rhizobium and how they build root nodules in which the bacteria fix atmospheric nitrogen that can be used by the plants. This discovery may lead to the development of sustainable agriculture with reduced use of artificial fertilisers.

Read the news article.


An important step towards finding a substitute for fertilisers

Plant researchers throughout the world have been trying for many years to find a substitute for fertilisers. An important step towards achieving this objective has now come from results obtained by plant researchers at the Department of Molecular Biology, the University of Aarhus. These results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature.

Read the news article.

Honorary awards, large research grants, etc.


Jens Stougaard receives prestigious grant from the European Research Council

For the second time in his career, Professor Jens Stougaard from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University receives an ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for research in plant molecular biology. The amount awarded is EUR 2.5 million and runs over five years.


Bill Gates met with researchers from Aarhus University

Bill Gates recently met with researchers from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University to discuss the sustainable use of biological nitrogen fixation that allows legumes to use atmospheric dinitrogen as a nitrogen source.


Jens Stougaard awarded the Order of Dannebrog

Her Majesty the Queen has awarded Professor Jens Stougaard the Order of Dannebrog as of 23 September 2016 in recognition of his impressive career.

Read the news article.

Crises produce new initiatives – and hopefully a really good new idea

Thirty years ago, he left Denmark to do research with the best scientists in his field. Today, research talents from all over the world come to Aarhus to kickstart their careers by working with him.

Read the news article.


Villum Kann Rasmussen Annual Award goes to molecular biologist

Professor Jens Stougaard receives Denmark's largest individual research award, the 2016 Villum Kann Rasmussen Annual Award for Technical and Scientific Research, valued at DKK 5 million. Candidates do not apply for this award from the VILLUM FOUNDATION.

Read the news article.


Molecular geneticist at AU among the most frequently cited researchers in the world

Jens Stougaard is the only researcher from a Danish university among the 1% of the most frequently cited researchers in the field of Plant and Animal Science. He is a professor at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University (AU), and is also director of the Centre for Carbohydrate Recognition and Signalling (CARB), a Centre of Excellence supported by the Danish National Research Foundation.

Read the news article


Super maize can put sustainable food on the table

A new research project financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation should pave the way towards a cheap and sustainable solution to some of Africa’s food problems. Researchers at Aarhus University are involved in the efforts to develop maize that can create its own fertiliser. On a global scale, this could lead to a reduction in the use of artificial fertilisers and thereby less environmental pollution.

Read the news article.


Internationalisation with a vengeance

Aarhus University urges researchers and students to focus on international collaboration. This commitment is fully met by the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, as approximately 140 of the department’s more than 400 staff members and PhD students come from abroad – representing most of the world.

Read the news article.


Two top scientists awarded DKK 95 million

The Danish National Research Foundation has awarded a five-year grant to two professors at the Department of Molecular Biology – Jens Stougaard and Poul Nissen. The grants amount to DKK 45 million and DKK 50 million, respectively, for continued research in their Centres of Excellence.

Read the news article.


Prestigious European grant to top researcher

Professor Jens Stougaard from the Department of Molecular Biology at Aarhus University in Denmark has been awarded one of the most prestigious European grants – the ERC Advanced Grant – which are given only to a very limited number of European elite researchers.

Read the news article.


Inauguration of a new interdisciplinary research centre

A new research center to study the function of carbohydrates in the mutual communication between cells in multicellular organisms such as plants and animals.

Read the news article.