Dr Sarah Schmidt

Postdoctoral Scientist
The 2Blades Group

Every morning I slice a banana in my breakfast cereals.

Soon I might have to stop.

The reason for this is Panama Disease! Panama Disease is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense. Infection with this fungus leads to wilting of the banana plants and can wipe out whole plantations. In the 1950s, a Panama Disease epidemic in Middle America almost led to a collapse of the whole banana industry. Currently, a new race of Panama Disease is rapidly spreading in the world and is threatening banana production worldwide.

My goal – as a member of the 2Blades Group – is to develop strategies for controlling and preventing Panama Disease. I will especially focus on solutions for African countries where banana is not just a beloved fruit, but also a staple crop.


Schmidt SM, Lukasiewicz J, Farrer R, van Dam P, Bertoldo C, Rep M (2016)

Comparative genomics of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. melonis reveals the secreted protein recognized by the Fom-2 resistance gene in melon. New Phytol. 2016 Jan;209(1):307-18. doi: 10.1111/nph.13584.

Ma L, Houterman PM, Gawehns F, Cao L, Sillo F, Richter H, Clavijo-Ortiz MJ, Schmidt SM, Boeren S, Vervoort J, Cornelissen BJ, Rep M, Takken FL (2015)

The AVR2-SIX5 gene pair is required to activate I-2-mediated immunity in tomato. New Phytol. 2015 Oct;208(2):507-18. doi: 10.1111/nph.13455.

Schmidt SM, Kuhn H, Micali C, Liller C, Kwaaitaal M, Panstruga R (2014)

Interaction of a Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei effector candidate with a barley ARF-GAP suggests host vesicle trafficking is a fungal pathogenicity target. Molecular Plant Pathology. 15: 535–49.

Schmidt SM, Houterman PM, Schreiver I, Ma L, Amyotte S, Chellappan B, Boeren S, Takken FL, Rep M (2013)

MITEs in the promoters of effector genes allow prediction of novel virulence genes in Fusarium oxysporum. BMC Genomics. 2013 Feb 22;14:119. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-14-119.

Weßling R, Schmidt SM, Micali CO, Knaust F, Reinhardt R, Neumann U, Ver Loren van Themaat E, Panstruga R (2012)

Transcriptome analysis of enriched Golovinomyces orontii haustoria by deep 454 pyrosequencing. Fungal Genet Biol. 2012 Jun;49(6):470-82. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2012.04.001.

Schmidt SM, Panstruga R (2011)

Pathogenomics of fungal plant parasites: what have we learnt about pathogenesis? Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2011 Aug;14(4):392-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2011.03.006.

Spanu PD, Abbott JC, Amselem J, Burgis TA, Soanes DM, Stüber K, Ver Loren van Themaat E, Brown JK, Butcher SA, Gurr SJ, Lebrun MH, Ridout CJ, Schulze-Lefert P, Talbot NJ, Ahmadinejad N, Ametz C, Barton GR, Benjdia M, Bidzinski P, Bindschedler LV, Both M, Brewer MT, Cadle-Davidson L, Cadle-Davidson MM, Collemare J, Cramer R, Frenkel O, Godfrey D, Harriman J, Hoede C, King BC, Klages S, Kleemann J, Knoll D, Koti PS, Kreplak J, López-Ruiz FJ, Lu X, Maekawa T, Mahanil S, Micali C, Milgroom MG, Montana G, Noir S, O'Connell RJ, Oberhaensli S, Parlange F, Pedersen C, Quesneville H, Reinhardt R, Rott M, Sacristán S, Schmidt SM, Schön M, Skamnioti P, Sommer H, Stephens A, Takahara H, Thordal-Christensen H, Vigouroux M, Wessling R, Wicker T, Panstruga R (2010)

Genome expansion and gene loss in powdery mildew fungi reveal tradeoffs in extreme parasitism. Science. 2010 Dec 10;330(6010):1543-6. doi: 10.1126/science.1194573.

Schmidt SM, Panstruga R (2007)

Cytoskeleton functions in plant–microbe interactions. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology 71: 135–148

Job History

2010 – 2015 Postdoctoral Scientist, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2009 – 2010 Postdoctoral Scientist, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Breeding Research, Cologne, Germany

2006 – 2009 PhD, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Breeding Research, Cologne, Germany