The TSL Summer School 2020 has been postponed indefinitely as a consequence of the COVID 19 pandemic and the issues arising. Thank you for your interest and we hope to be able to run our next Summer School as soon as conditions allow.

With all best wishes for your health,

The Sainsbury Laboratory

20th – 29th July 2020 Norwich, UK

The Sainsbury Laboratory

Summer School

Plant Microbe Interactions


The last 20 years have provided a sophisticated understanding of how plants recognise relatively conserved microbial patterns to activate defence. In recent years DNA sequencing allowed genomes and transcriptomes of eukaryotic rusts and mildew pathogens to be studied and imaging permit the study and visualisation of intracellular interactions during pathogenesis and defence.

We will present many aspects of plant microbe interactions including:

The focus on the dynamic and interactive practical sessions will naturally promote strong interactions between lecturers and participants.



External Speakers

Dr Natalia Requena

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

Dr Natalia Requena studied Biology at the University of Granada, Spain. She obtained her PhD in 1996 with a Thesis about the use of microbes to restore degraded ecosystems, at the CSIC. She moved then with a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship to the Max Planck Institute for terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany. Later, she was group leader and research assistant at the University of Tübingen. She was then awarded with a DFG Heisenberg Professorship and moved to Karlsruhe, where, since 2012, she is associate professor at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Her research has always focused on plant-microbial interactions, and in particular on the molecular dialogue between plants and arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi.

Prof. Ben Scheres

Rijk Zwaan, The Netherlands

Prof. Ben Scheres studied molecular biology at the University of Wageningen, obtaining his PhD in 1990 in Plant Microbe Interactions. He has worked in Arabidopsis root as a model system for multidisciplinary dissection of dissection of developmental mechanisms in plants, defining root stem cell organization. His group discovered dose dependent stem-cell factors act in gradients for specification of stem-cell state. He became Professor of Plant Developmental Biology at Wageningen University in 2012. In 2018 Ben made a transition from academia to industry, taking up the position of Research Manager at Rijk Zwaan Breeding, Netherlands

Dr Stella Cesari

INRAE, France

Dr Stella Cesari studied Plant Biology at the University of Montpellier, France. She obtained her PhD in 2012 in plant-pathogen interactions. Her work focused on the molecular mechanisms involved in the recognition of two rice-blast effectors by a pair of rice immune receptors. Subsequently, she joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO, Canberra, Australia), where she studied the signalling activity of several rust resistance proteins in wheat. In 2018, she obtained a permanent scientist position at INRAE (French National Research Institute for Agriculture, food and the Environment) to work in the mixed research unit of Biology and Genetics of Plant-Pathogen Interactions (BGPI, Montpellier). Her current research focuses on the molecular basis of plant defence and pathogen virulence mechanisms.

Registration Process

We will accept a maximum of twenty participants onto this course. Participants can be at any career stage prior to those leading a group or from any sector and may be working or resident in any country. Participants will be selected by the instructors from applicants filling out this form. No strict criteria other than early career stage will be applied. Registration will be £800 and will cover course materials, accommodation (including breakfast), a weekend excursion and some evening social events. Lunch and dinner are not covered but on-site facilities are cheap and easy to access. Accommodation is self-catering and is close to a supermarket. Registration will close at 0930 BST (UTC +1) Friday 3rd April 2020. Successful participants will be notified by email by 1700 BST Friday 17th April 2020.

We are able to offer a course fee waiver (not including travel) for one participant. A waiver will be granted to merit to a participant from a low or low-middle income country as defined by the World Bank ( Please indicate on the application form whether you wish to be considered.

How To Apply

Please fill out this form:

Getting Here

Norwich is in the East of England, and has several convenient options for getting there.

Arriving by Air

Norwich International Airport

Norwich International Airport is served by KLM and the regional carriers Flybe, BMI Regional, and Eastern Airways, with direct connections to Amsterdam, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen. Form the airport you can take a taxi or local bus (with transfer) to get to the Norwich Research Park. Note that if you fly out of Norwich airport you will need to pay a £10 Airport Development Fee before you can go to your gate. Norwich airport is, however, a very convenient way to reach Norwich from outside the UK.

London Airports

You can also arrive at any of the London airports and take a train or coach to Norwich. Stansted Airport is the closest and has direct rail connections to Norwich.

Arriving by Train

Another option, especially if you are based in the UK, or are arriving at another airport, it to take Britain’s national train network to Norwich Train Station, located in downtown Norwich. From there you can take a local bus or a taxi to Norwich Research Park. National Rail and TheTrainLine are two comprehensive online resource for booking train travel within the UK.

Arriving by Coach

You can also arrive in Norwich via coach. Norwich Bus Station is downtown and is also served by local buses and taxis once you arrive.

Arriving by Car and Parking

See the Sainsbury Lab and UEA getting here pages.

Parking at the Conference Centre is “ample and free for all events”. If you require parking at the conference venue, please use the JIC Visitor’s car park (follow the signs we will put up). When you are at registration, please tell us your license plate number, make, and colour so we can register it with JIC security.

Those staying at UEA will be able to park in the Main car park on campus. Parking will be available in the Main car park on campus. UEA car park charges are listed on the UEA car parking for visitors page

Getting into Central Norwich by Bus

First Group is the major local bus provider in Norwich. This map shows the complete network, and these buses specifically serve the Norwich Research Park or the UEA campus:

These bus stops have been added to the Summer School Google Map.

The Sainsbury Laboratory,
Norwich Research Park,
NR4 7UH,