Dr Panagiotis Sarris
Honorary Associate Professor in Plant Immunity and Microbiology


My group investigates how plants resist disease in resistant hosts and how resistance is overcome by pathogens in susceptible hosts. Using molecular biology, genetics, and biochemistry, we study the molecular basis of plant-microbe interactions to address microbial pathogenicity and activation of innate immunity in plants.

To suppress host defence pathogens, of both plant and animals encode virulence components, known as “effector proteins”, which are translocated into host cells or are secreted to extracellular spaces. How these effectors work in the host tissues and their subcellular targets identification could help up to understand the molecular nature of the plant defence system.

Plants’ and animals’ defence relies on a sophisticated innate immunity system that includes cell-surface and intracellular protein receptors. Pathogens recognition by immune receptors, initiates a molecular signaling cascade leading to plant defence activation mechanisms. Plant intracellular immune receptors of the Nucleotide Binding-Leucine Rich Repeat family (NB-LRR or NLR) are encoded by Resistance (R) genes and have structural similarity with the mammalian intracellular NLR family (NOD-like receptor) receptors.

Fields of Interest:

  • Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Plant Immunobiology
  • Molecular biology and Biotechnology of Disease Resistance in Plants
  • Microbial Molecular Genomics/Proteomics
  • Microbial Comparative Genomics and Phylogeny


1994-1999: BSc in “Molecular Biology”, University of “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Biology, Sofia, Bulgaria.

1999-2000: MSc in “Clinical Chemistry and Microbiology”, Department of Biology, University of “St. Kliment Ohridski”,  & Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Department of Molecular Biology and Department of Human Physiology.

2002-2004: MSc in “Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology”, Department of Biology, University of Crete, Greece.

2004-2009: PhD in “Molecular Plant-Microbe interactions” & “Molecular Microbiology”, Department of Biology, University of Crete, Greece.

2009-2011: Post-Doc research, Medical academy and Dept. of Biology, University of Crete, Greece.

2012-2015: Senior Research Associate, University of East Anglia (The Sainsbury Laboratory), Norwich, UK.

2015-present: Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Biosciences, University of Exeter, UK.

Contact details

Tel+44 (0) 1392 4275
AddressGeoffrey Pope Building
University of Exeter
Stocker Road

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