Kornelia Smalla (Germany)
Professor and Acting Head
Institute for Epidemiology and Pathogen Diagnostics
Julius Kühn Institute
Technical University of Braunschweig
Kornelia Smalla is the head of the microbial ecology group in the Institute for Epidemiology and Pathogen Diagnostics at the Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, in Braunschweig. She studied chemistry and did her PhD in biochemistry at the Martin-Luther-University in Halle. The venia legendi for microbiology was obtained at the Technical University Braunschweig where she is an adjunct Professor for Microbiology. From the beginning of the 1990’s Kornelia Smalla contributed to the new field of molecular microbial ecology. Her long term research interest is unraveling the complex interaction in the rhizosphere and how soil bacteria respond to changing environmental conditions. A focus of her research is how agricultural management systems and the use of organic fertilizers in particular influence the abundance of antibiotic resistance genes and mobile genetic elements such as plasmids and integrons. She has a long-term interest in ecology of broad host range plasmids and the plasticity of their accessory gene load. A more recent research interest is on the understanding which factors influence the presence transferable antibiotic resistance genes on fresh produce. She has served as the editor of FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Frontiers in Microbiology and BMC Microbiology.