Bart’s group studies fungal plant pathogens with particular emphasis on pathogen genome evolution and functional analysis of effectors that are secreted by these pathogens to establish disease on their hosts.
You can follow Bart on Twitter: @Team_thomma
What encouraged you to pursue a career in the field of microbiology?
“As son of a fruit grower I spent a lot of time in the orchards during my childhood. I got fascinated by the microbial diseases that appeared in these orchards from time to time, was amazed by the impact of some of them, and wanted to understand how these diseases occurred. This inspired me to start studying plant pathology.
Today, I am still fascinated to learn and understand the various mechanisms by which microbial plant pathogens escape plant host immune systems and are able to be successful in the everlasting arms races with their hosts.”
What inspired you to get involved with FEMS Microbiology Reviews?
“I am passionate about sharing our science, and think it is important to synthesize broad conceptual frameworks to capture findings in the field. Publishing is an important aspect of scientific research, and since many years I have been serving as editor for various research journals. I welcomed the opportunity to become involved in a reviews journal, initially as editorial board member, and presently as joint chief editor, because it allows to advance the field by promoting the synthesis of broader views and comprehensive stories that put findings of primary research into perspective.”
How do you see the journal developing in the future?
“The challenge we have is to keep the journal up where it is at the moment, with an excellent reputation and a source for the most impactful and authoritative review papers.”
How would you describe FEMS Microbiology Reviews in three words?
“Microbes, microbes, microbes………or authoritative, comprehensive, timely”
Do you think there are misconceptions regarding FEMS Microbiology Reviews – if so, what?
“I do not think there are misconceptions, necessarily, but I do think it is important to stress that FEMS Microbiology Reviews really is a society journal and that revenues are ploughed back into the field.”
What advice would you give to today’s early career researchers?
“Follow your heart and make sure you are passionate about whatever you do. Science is really important for society, but first and foremost you should enjoy the opportunity to do science. Although the scientific world is full of competition and does not always bring out the most appealing traits in people’s characters, realize that successful science mostly concerns team efforts.”
What is your favourite microbe, and why?
“It has to be a plant pathogenic fungus, and there are many fascinating ones, but at this moment I would choose Verticillium dahliae. This fungal species can cause disease on hundreds of plant hosts, while it can also colonize plants without causing any symptoms of disease. It has a remarkable capability of adaptation and, despite the absence of (frequent) sexual reproduction, shows extensive genomic rearrangements. How the fungus is able to mediate this is still unclear and something we would like to understand.”
Scope of the journal
As always, FEMS Microbiology Reviews publishes reviews dealing with all aspects of microbiology that have not been surveyed recently. Reviews should be devoted to topics of current interest and provide comprehensive, critical and authoritative coverage. They should provide new perspectives and critical, detailed discussions of significant trends in the areas being reviewed and may contain elements of a speculative and selective nature. All reviews should address both specialists and the general reader. Whenever possible, reviews should be put into the framework of general microbiology and biology.
Please read the Author Guidelines if you wish to make a submission to the journal.