Under supervision of Dr. Iris Kappers (iris.kappers@wur.nl)

Aim: Identify genes involved in multi-stress response in Arabidopsis using plant phenotyping and GWAS.

Plant encounter a myriad of stress conditions in the wild, both biotic as well as abiotic conditions. These stress conditions affect germination, growth (e.g. shoot growth, root growth, etc.) and the response to other stress conditions. While often in laboratory experiments only a single stress conditions is applied, we aim to combine both biotic and abiotic stress conditions in this project and assess the effect on the plant’s performance.

Arabidopsis thaliana grows in a wide range of habitats in the Northern Hemisphere. Different Arabidopsis accessions therefore experience different growth conditions. This results in phenotypic and genotypic variation as a result of the local growth conditions. In a genome wide association study (GWAS), this phenotypic and genotypic variation is harnessed to study the response of a population of Arabidopsis accessions and identify genes which underly the response to the imposed stress condition(s).

In this project we use the HapMap population, containing hundreds of Arabidopsis accessions, and quantify the accession’s phenotypes in response to a combination of biotic and abiotic stress conditions. Using a publicly available dataset, we are able to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes, and thus the genes which determine the response to the applied stress conditions.


  • in vitro plant growth techniques
  • Phenotyping,
  • Biochemical assays,
  • Data analysis: ImageJ, R, possibly python


Basic knowledge of plant physiology, creative and critical thinking. PPH10806 or other relevant courses in Plant Sciences/Biology.

This project is only offered as BSc thesis. Minimal credit load is 18 ECTS. The begin and and date are flexible.