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the team


from left to right, top to bottom: Eliza, Charlotte, Anniek, Mariëlle, Kevin, Jesse, Eline

Photo: December 2022

Charlotte Gommers

Assistant Professor


Member of the retrograde signalling team since: February 2019

Worked before at: Utrecht University (PhD), Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (Barcelona, Postdoc)

Research interests: I am fascinated about the way plants are capable of integrating various signals from their environment to optimise growth and survival. During my post-doc I discovered how chloroplast-derived retrograde signals can alter nuclear gene expression to interfere with other pathways, such as the light signalling pathway that is activated by photoreceptors. I would like to find out now, how (stressful) environmental changes affect chloroplasts and the release of retrograde signals, and how these signals integrate in the nucleus to promote optimal survival. 

ORCID  Google Scholar

Mariëlle Schreuder

Lab Manager


Member of the retrograde signalling team since: February 2019

Eliza van Veen

PhD candidate


Member of the retrograde signalling team since: November 2021

Worked before at: University College Cork (MSc)

Research interests: Plant growth and development has always fascinated me, and I am particularly interested in understanding how plants sense and respond to different environmental stimuli. During my research Master at University College Cork (Ireland), I investigated the role circadian regulated lncRNAs in regulating developmental responses ranging from germination to flowering. At that time, I also became interested in understanding how photoperiod duration impacts the transcriptional patterns circadian genes. This interest in light signalling led me my current role as PhD candidate in the Retrograde Signalling team at the department on Plant Physiology (WUR, NL). My current research focusses on understanding how salt stress impacts seedlings establishment, a process tightly regulated by light conditions. I implement an interdisciplinary approach by assessing the impact of abiotic stress on known light signalling pathways and vice versa. Additionally, I aim to understand how salt stress impacts chloroplast biogenesis during de-etiolation, and the potential role of chloroplasts in both stress perception and signalling.

Jesse Küpers



Member of the retrograde signalling team since: April 2022

Worked before at: Utrecht University (PhD)

Research interests: During my PhD at Utrecht University I investigated how Arabidopsis adaptively regulates organ growth in response to distally-perceived neighbour proximity signals. I unravelled an intricate interplay of several hormone signalling pathways that together steer long-distance growth between plant tissues. In my current project I am changing the level of magnification and studying how light signals affect communication between plastids and the nucleus.

ORCID  Google Scholar

Anniek Oosterwijk

PhD candidate


Member of the retrograde signalling team since: September 2022

Worked before at: Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (Cologne, MSc), Biochemistry, WUR (MSc)

Research interests: I am interested in the impact of different colors of light on plant development, which is a fascinating area of study in the field of plant photobiology. I like to integrate different techniques from biophysics and biochemistry, together with phenotypic analysis to investigate how plants respond to light. By exploring the effects of various monochromatic colors of light on plant growth, we specifically hope to get a better understanding on how green light affects plant growth and development and identify a still unknown green light receptor.

Eline Eggermont

PhD candidate


Member of the retrograde signalling team since: October 2022

Kevin Rooijackers

MSc thesis student

Aisha So

MSc thesis student

Tirza van den Dikkenberg

BSc thesis student

Yuhong Zheng

MSc thesis student

Former team members

  • Ramon de Bont - MSc student from September 2021 until March 2022

  • Melissa van As - BSc student from April until July 2021

  • Melanie van Driel - BSc student from October 2020 until February 2021

  • Tom Gijsberts - BSc student from September 2020 until October 2020

  • Konstantinos Ntoumos - PhD candidate from September 2019 until September 2020

  • Marietheres Kleuter - Erasmus exchange student from February 2020 until September 2020

  • Reiny Sangster - MSc student from September 2019 until March 2020 & June until September 2020

  • Niels van de Haar - BSc student from September 2019 until January 2020, research assistant August 2020

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