This fellowship aims to bridge the gap between in vitro and in vivo testing, advancing our understanding and management of tree diseases.

Funding Amount:


Project Summary:

Trees rely on complex microbial communities, known as microbiota, for their health and protection against diseases. Harmful microbes, called pathogens, need to compete against the resident microbiota before being able to damage a tree. Understanding how pathogens overcome these defences is essential to understanding tree diseases and developing solutions to protect our forests.

An oak seedling inside a clear pot. The roots are growing into a clear liquid, the stem and leaves are covered with a plastic lid.

The oak seedling microcosm. Image from Abdelfattah et al. (2021)

However, tree microbiota are extremely diverse, complex and difficult to study in the wild. In this project, Marine is developing a system to grow oak seedlings in sterile lab conditions and applying simple versions of tree microbiota to these seedlings (SynComs). Marine will then introduce the pathogens that are responsible for tree disease and study how these pathogens compete with the microbiota.

Using this knowledge, Marine aims to unravel pathogen-microbiota interactions crucial for tree health and bio-engineer more resilient microbiota for oak trees, specifically combating the major pathogen of Acute Oak Decline, Brenneria goodwinii. Marine will be collaborating with world-leading experts and using the latest techniques for developing her microcosms, such as MiMiC which was used to study gut microbiota. Marine Cambon’s project promises to revolutionize our understanding and management of tree diseases and pave the way for more resilient and sustainable treescapes in the face of global change.


Dr Marine Cambon is a Biosciences Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham. Marine brings a wealth of experience in microbial ecology and evolution, with a focus on understanding multi-kingdom interactions in tree health. As a postdoctoral researcher, she has led and participated in several projects investigating the role of tree microbiota in disease resilience, positioning herself as an expert in the field. Her diverse skill set includes expertise in field and laboratory techniques for studying microbial communities, as well as advanced analytical skills in bioinformatics and statistical analysis. With a strong commitment to open science and reproducible research, Marine is dedicated to advancing our understanding of tree microbiota and its impact on forest ecosystems.

STATUS: Ongoing

Project Lead

Dr Marine Cambon


University of Birmingham, the Clavel lab and the University Hospital RWTH Aachen