Dr. Iván Fernández López

Contact / Address

Dr. Iván Fernández López

Department of Soil Ecology
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 4 | D-06120 Halle/Saale


+49 345 558 5224



Postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Soil Ecology, UFZ-Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle. Supported by Flexpool Program by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig.

Current project

Defense priming by herbivory in ectomycorrhizal oak trees over successive growth flushes

The pedunculate oak Quercus robur. L., supports a wide community of biotrophic partners. A indirect defense mechanism against leaf herbivory is the production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that act as herbivore-repellent, attractor of natural herbivore enemies or in plant-plant signaling. Direct and indirect plant defense is physiologically and ecologically costly, is therefore often only expressed upon induction by herbivore feeding. Defense priming is an additional mechanism that may occur when previous herbivore damage, e.g. on the first shoot flush, enhances induced resistance in the second or third flush. Similarly, interactions with beneficial organisms, e.g. mycorrhiza, may boost the plant’s induced defense response. Aboveground-belowground resource fluctuations in plants may also interact with induced defense against herbivory.


Other research topics

  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis signaling
  • Host and non-host plants in arbuscular mycorrhizal interactions
  • Priming by mycorrhiza


Dr. Tarkka (UFZ, Soil Ecology)
Dr. Herrmann (UFZ, Community Ecology)
Dr. Schädler (UFZ, Community Ecology)
Prof. van Dam (iDiv, Molecular Interaction Ecology)
Dr. Weinhold (iDiv, Molecular Interaction Ecology)

CV / Scientific Career

2017 - 2019

Postdoctoral Researcher supported by Flexpool Program in the group of Prof. Buscot, Department of Soil Ecology, Helmholtz Institute - Zentrum Für Umweltforschung (UFZ), Halle, Germany.

2015 - 2017

Postdoctoral Researcher Marie-Sklodowska Curie Action Individual Fellowship (MSCA-IF) in the group of Prof. Pieterse, Department of Plant-Microbe Interactions, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

2014 - 2015

Postdoctoral Researcher supported by The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research project (NWO) in the group of Prof. Pieterse, Department of Plant-Microbe Interactions, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

2013 - 2014

Visiting Researcher in the lab of Prof. Pieterse, Department of Plant-Microbe Interactions, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

2010 - 2010

Visiting PhD Student in the Group of Prof. Bonfante, Department of Plant Biology, Torino University, Italy.

2007 - 2013

PhD in Biology (Cum laude with “International Doctorate” mention). Estación Experimental del Zaidín - Spanish National Research Council, Granada University, Spain. Thesis title: “Role of jasmonates and prosystemin on the establishment and functioning of arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses”.


1. Martínez-Medina A., Fernández I., Lok G.B., Pozo M.J., Pieterse C.M.J., van Wees S.C.M.: Shifting from priming of salicylic acid- to jasmonic acid regulated defenses by Trichoderma protects tomato against the root knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita. New Phytologist, 213: 1363-1377 (2016).

2. López-Ráez J.A., Fernández I., García J.M., Berrio B., Bonfante P., Walter M.H., Pozo M.J.: Differential spatio-temporal expression of carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases regulates apocarotenoids fluxes during AM symbiosis. Plant Science, 230: 59-69 (2015).

3. Fernández I., Merlos M., López-Ráez J.A., Martínez-Medina A., Ferrol N., Azcón C., Bonfante P., Flors V., Pozo M.J.: Defense related phytohormones regulation in arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses depends on the partner genotypes. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 40: 791-803 (2014).

4. Martínez-Medina A., Fernández I., Sánchez M.J., Jung S.C., Pascual J.A., Pozo M.J.: Deciphering the hormonal signaling network behind the systemic resistance induced by Trichoderma harzianum in tomato. Frontiers in Plant Science, 4: 206. (2013).

5. De Román M., Fernández I., Wyatt T., Sahrawy M., Heil M., Pozo M.J.: Elicitation of foliar resistance mechanisms transiently impairs root association with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Journal of Ecology, 99: 36-45 (2011).

6. López-Ráez J.A., Charnikhova T., Fernández I., Bouwmeester H., Pozo M.J.: Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis decreases strigolactone production in tomato. Journal of Plant Physiology, 168: 294-297 (2011).

7. López-Ráez J.A., Verhage A., Fernández I., García J.M., Azcón-Aguilar C., Flors V., Pozo M.J.: Hormonal and transcriptional profiles highlight common and differential host responses to arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and the regulation of the oxylipin pathway. Journal of Experimental Botany, 61: 2589-2601 (2010).