My research focuses on the interaction of the herbivore spider mite Tetranychus urticae with tomato as host plant. We assume that the compatibility of the interaction is determined by many factors; involving the constitutive/induced plant defenses, and how the spider mite can handle these defenses.
I am currently focusing on a family of proteins that the herbivore injects to the host plant, the so called effectors. These proteins have the ability to alter the physiology of the plant converting to a better host for the herbivore. The study of these effectors and the plant-targeted proteins will help us to understand the herbivore/plant interaction. We can use this information to open new strategies for crop protection.