Prof. Dr. Michelle Watt

Research focus

Michelle Watt is a plant biologist specializing in the physiology and development of root systems. She leads basic research on root and root-microbiome processes to identify traits to increase crop production and fertilizer and water use efficiency. She has expertise in non-invasive imaging technologies for phenotyping at the cellular to whole plant scale and specializes in linking laboratory and field research. Watt and her Root Dynamics Group compliment experimental work with conceptual and mathematical simulation models of soil-root-shoot functions in space and time.


The five most important publications

  1. Sasse J, Kant J, Cole BJ, Klein AP, Arsova B, Schlaepfer P, Gao J, Lewald K, Zhalnina K, Kosina S, Bowen BP, Treen D, Vogel J, Visel A, Watt M, Dangl JL, Northen TR (2018) Multilab EcoFAB study shows highly reproducible physiology and depletion of soil metabolites by a model grass. New Phytol. doi: 10.1111/nph.15662 [Abstract]
  2. Postma JA, Kuppe C, Owen MR, Mellor N, Griffiths M, Bennett MJ, Lynch JP, Watt M (2017) OpenSimRoot: widening the scope and application of root architectural models. New Phytol 215(3):1274-1286. [Abstract]
  3. Chochois V, Vogel JP, Rebetzke GJ, Watt M (2015) Variation in Adult Plant Phenotypes and Partitioning among Seed and Stem-Borne Roots across Brachypodium distachyon Accessions to Exploit in Breeding Cereals for Well-Watered and Drought Environments. Plant Physiol 168(3):953-967. [Abstract]
  4. Donn S, Kirkegaard JA, Perera G, Richardson AE, Watt M (2015) Evolution of bacterial communities in the wheat crop rhizosphere. Environ Microbiol 17(3):610-621. [Abstract]
  5. Watt M, Silk WK, Passioura JB (2006) Rates of root and organism growth, soil conditions, and temporal and spatial development of the rhizosphere. Annals of Botany 97: 839-855 [Abstract]




Prof. Dr. Michelle Watt


+49 2461619112

Institute of Bio and Geosciences-2 (IBG-2)
Forschungszentrum Jülich


52428 Jülich
Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich