Professor Jurriaan Ton

Dr Jurriaan Ton


  • Co-director of the P3 centre of excellence for translational agricultural technologies (2013)
  • Lecturer and ERC research fellow (2011) Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, UK.
  • Principal Investigator and BBSRC research fellow (2008) Rothamsted Research, Centre of Sustainable Pest and Disease Management, UK.
  • Principal Investigator and NWO-VENI research fellow (2004) Department of Biology, Plant-Microbe Interactions, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.
  • Post-doc position. (2004) Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Entomology, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
  • Post-doc position. (2001) Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
  • Post-doc position. (2001) Section Phytopathology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.
  • PhD in Biology. (2001) Section Phytopathology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.
  • MSc in Biology. (1996) Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Key Research Interests

  • Molecular signalling and (epi)genetic basis of priming of plant immunity.
  • Ecological impacts and agricultural potential of induced resistance in plants.
  • Chemical interactions between plants, microbes, and insects.

PlantDiagram 1as in relatively stress-free environments invest most of their resources in growth and reproduction (left). If plants live in hostile environments and are attacked by harmful microbes or insects, they activate inducible defence mechanisms (right). Expression of this “induced defense” is often costly due to allocation of limited resources to defensive compounds, or toxicity of the defense to the plant’s own metabolism. Plants are also capable of sensing environemtal cues that indicate upcoming stress. These signals can “sensitize” or “prime” the plant’s immune system (middle), which results in a faster and/or stronger defence reaction when the plant is attacked at a later stage. Although the level of disease protection by priming tends to be less than that by induced defence, priming is effective against a broad range of (a)biotic stress and comes with considerably fewer costs than induced defence (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA,103: 5602-5607).

For more information about current research activities in my lab, please visit:



  • APS 132 - Level 1 tutorials
  • APS 222 - Level 2 tutorials
  • APS 308 – Environmental Regulation in Plants
  • APS 330 - Level 3 Research Projects
  • APS 331 - Level 3 Dissertations


  • Dr. Oliver Berkowitz, Murdoch University, Australia
  • Dr. Toby Bruce, Rothamsted Research, UK
  • Dr. Matthias Erb, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany
  • Dr. Victor Flors, University of Jaume I, Spain
  • Prof. Martin Heil, Cinvestav, Mexico
  • Dr Brigitte Mauch-Mani, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  • Prof. Phil Mullineaux, University of Essex, UK
  • Dr. Andy Neal, Rothamsted Research, UK
  • Prof. Corné Pieterse, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • Prof. Ted Turlings, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  • Dr. Sergio Rasmann, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Dr. Mike Roberts, University of Lancaster, UK

Current Group Members

  • Dr. Estrella Luna-Diez
  • Dr. Ana Lopez-Sanchez

Former Group Members

  • Dr. Shakoor Ahmad; Rothamsted Research, UK
  • Dr. Yuhua Zhang; Rothamsted Research, UK
  • Dr. Marieke van Hulten; Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • Dr. Sjoerd van der Ent; Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Lab Webpage:

Selected Publications

(for a complete list see:

Neal, A., Ahmad, S., Gordon-Weeks, R., and Ton, J. (2012) Benzoxazinoids in root exudates of maize attract Pseudomonas putida to the rhizoshere. PLoS ONE 7(4): e35498

Luna, E. et al., & Ton, J. (2011) Next generation systemic acquired resistance. Plant Physiol 158: 317-327

Ahmad, S. et al., & Ton, J. (2011) Benzoxazinoid metabolites regulate innate immunity against aphids and fungi in maize. Plant Physiol 157: 317-327

Ahmad, S. et al., & Ton, J. (2011) Genetic dissection of natural variation in basal defences between Arabadopsis thaliana accessions. Plant Cell Environ 34: 1191-1206

Van der Ent, S. et al., & Ton, J. (2009) Priming of plant innate immunity by rhizobacteria and beta-aminobutyric acid: differences and similarities in regulation. New Phytol 183: 419-431

Ton, J., Flors, V., & Mauch-Mani, B. (2009) The multifaceted role of ABA in disease resistance. Trends Plant Sci 14: 310-317

Erb, M. et al., Ton, J. (2009) Signal signature of aboverground-induced resistance upon belowground herbivory in maize. Plant J 59: 292-302

Heil, M. & Ton., J. (2008) Long-distance signalling in plant defence. Trends Plant Sci 13: 264-272

Ton, J. et al., & Turlings, T. (2007) Priming by air-borne signals boosts direct and indirect resistance in maize. Plant J 49: 16-26

Van Hulten, et al., & Ton, J. (2006) Costs and benefits of priming for defense in Arabadopsis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103: 5602-5607

Turlings, T.C.J. & Ton, J. (2006) Exploting scents of distress: the prospect of manipulating herbivore-induced plant odours to enhance the control of agricultural pests. Curr Opinion Plant Biol 9: 421-427

Ton, J., et al. (2005) Dissecting the ß-aminobutyric acid-induced priming phenomenon in Arabadopsis. Plant Cell 17: 987-999

Ton, J. & Mauch-Mani, B. (2004) ß-amino-butyric acid-induced resistance against necrotrophic pathogens is based on ABA-dependent priming for callose. Plant J 38: 119-130