Junior Lusu Kika
Research group: Crop pathogen immunity
I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture form Kenyatta University (Kenya). For my final-year’s research, undertaken International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe, Nairobi), I worked on pollination efficiency of indigenous African stingless bees. This placement was the genesis on my interest in research which later became focused on plant pathology, specifically in understanding the molecular and evolutionary mechanisms underlying the relationships between plants and their pathogens. Subsequently, I joined Ghent University (Belgium) for a Master's in Nematology. For my master's thesis research, I went to the Institut Sophia Agrobiotech (Sophia Antipolis, France), where I worked on initializing functional characterization of root-knot nematodes’ effectors.
For my PhD now, I have joined the Derevnina’s and Eves-van den Akker’s groups to work on defining and functionally characterizing the “core” effectorome or root-knot nematodes, by focusing on four of the most important, but also genetically diverse species of the Meloidogyne genus.