Prof. Corné Pieterse conducts research into the immune system of plants at the cellular and genetic level. With this research, he demonstrates in what ways plants are capable of optimally protecting themselves against attackers (diseases and infestations) and how they make the most of beneficial microflora in the soil. This knowledge is applied around the world for improving important food crops in a sustainable way. “We translate our research into economically relevant crops”. Pieterse’s research can help reduce global harvest losses and thereby considerably improve total food production. The growing world population and major harvest losses due to pests and diseases make his research highly relevant. As the immune system of plants exhibits parallels with that of humans, test plants can be used to study certain human pathogens. As such, Pieterse’s research also contributes to a better understanding of the human immune system.