Isabel ML Saur

Team Leader



Isabel was trained as a Laboratory Assistant in Stuttgart-Hohenheim. She did her undergrad studies in Biotechnology at the Applied Science University Esslingen am Neckar. Isabel got interested in plant sciences and academic research in general during her placements at the Research School of Biology, The Australian National University (ANU), Canberra. She graduated with a PhD in plant immunity from ANU in 2015 and thereafter joined the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) in Cologne where her research started to focus on the interaction of barley and the powdery mildew fungus. Isabel was granted a DFG Emmy Noether group leader position in 2020. Isabel also enjoys gardening and to exercise.





Emma Crean

Research Assistant



Emma graduated with a Bachelor’s degree with First Class Honours in Advanced Science in 2021 from the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra. Emma completed her one year Honours project in the Dr. Simon William’s plant structural immunology group, this project sparked her interest in plant-pathogen interactions. Emma continued to work on plant immunity at the ANU as a laboratory technician with Dr. Jana Sperschneider and Dr. Benjamin Schwessinger. We are now waiting for Emma’s visa so she can join us here in Cologne as a Research Assistant! Emma grew up in rural Australia and enjoys going for nature walks, pottery and reading.




Merle Bilstein-Schloemer

PhD student




Merle studied Biology and Biotechnology at the Westfälische Wilhelms-University in Münster and graduated with a Masters degree in 2021. During the Bachelor studies she got in contact with plant biotechnology in the group of Prof. Prüfer, in which she also completed her Master thesis that focused on basic research on and optimization of crop plants. She will join the Saur lab as a PhD student in early 2022 to study AVRa effector functions. Besides science, Merle also enjoys reading, cooking and relaxed evenings with friends and family.





Wei Shi

Postdoctoral Fellow



Wei got interested in fungi during the Undergraduate Research Program (URP) at China Agricultural University (CAU), Beijing. Then he started his PhD studies about Magnaporthe oryzae in Prof. Dr. Youliang Peng’s group at CAU, the PhD studies made him interested in plant-pathogen interactions. Wei graduated with a PhD in plant pathology from CAU in 2020. Thereafter Wei joined the Terrestrial Microbiology Lab led by Prof. Dr. Gunther Doehlemann at the University of Cologne to study effector biology. As of early 2022 he also joins the Saur group to include effectors from powdery mildew into his research portfolio. Wei enjoys reading and hiking.





© Isabel Saur