Prof. Dr. ir. Kathy Steppe

Prof. Dr. ir. Kathy Steppe

Professor - Head of the Laboratory of Plant Ecology
Research interests
  • Ecophysiology
  • Plant-water relations and carbon metabolism, including the fate of CO2 in plants
  • Xylem and phloem functioning, and their interactions
  • Climate change effects on tree physiology and forest ecosystem processes
  • Plant sensors for monitoring and stress detection
  • Medical imaging techniques for plant sciences (micro-CT, MRI, plant-PET)
  • Thermal remote sensing
  • Process-based and functional-structural plant modelling
  • Advanced plant-based control strategies (e.g., irrigation scheduling)

Postdoctoral researchers

Dr. ir. Jonas Coussement

Research interests
  • Functional-Structural Plant Models
  • 3D-modelling
  • Ecophysiological models

Dr. ir. Niels De Baerdemaeker

Research interests
  • Cavitation
  • Hydraulic capacitance
  • Acoustic emissions
  • Micro-CT
  • Assessment of drought impact on the ecophysiology of plants
  • Plant-water relations

Dr. ir. Dirk De Pauw

Postdoc / Technician
Research interests
  • Software development
  • Plant modelling
  • Data acquisition
  • Plant sensor development

Dr. Carmen M. Padilla-Díaz

FWO Postdoctoral Fellow
Research interests
  • Water and carbon fluxes in plants, and their interactions during drought stress
  • Plant sensors for monitoring and irrigation management
  • Mechanistic plant modelling
  • Impact of climate change on plant growth and fruit development

Dr. Richard L. Peters

SNSF Postdoctoral Fellow
Research interests
  • Tree physiology
  • Xylem formation
  • Hydraulic functioning
  • Forest monitoring networks
  • Mechanistic whole-tree modelling

Dr. Roberto Salomon

FWO [PEGASUS]2-Marie Curie Sklodowska Fellow
Research interests
  • Woody tissue respiration
  • Plant modelling
  • Transport of carbohydrates and CO2 in plants
  • Climate change and hydraulic functioning
  • Resprouting and coppice management

Teaching assistents

ir. Jonas von der Crone

Teaching assistant – PhD student
Research interests
  • Tree monitoring and modelling
  • Global change impact on forest health and vitality
  • Environmental plant physiology
  • Plant sensors and remote sensing


Ben Colpaert

PhD student
Research interests
  • Remote sensing
  • Plant nitrogen cycle
  • Fertilizer use efficiency
  • Stable isotope research
  • Horticulture

ir. Linus De Roo

PhD student
Research interests
  • Climate change impact
  • Drought stress in plants and cavitation
  • Interactions between water and carbon
  • Carbon recycling

ir. Fran Lauriks

PhD student
Research interests
  • Plant-water relations
  • Climate change and drought effects on plant hydraulics
  • Drought-induced cavitation
  • Wood anatomical traits
  • Continuous plant monitoring

ir. Jens Mincke

PhD student
Research interests
  • Photosynthesis
  • Carbon allocation and carbon recycling
  • Tracing xylem transported 11C-labelled CO2
  • PET-MRI medical imaging
  • Drought

ir. Jeroen Schreel

PhD student
Research interests
  • Plant-water relations
  • Climate change
  • Ecophysiology
  • Leaf water uptake
  • Mangroves

ir. Hans Van de Put

PhD student
Research interests
  • Plant modelling
  • Plant monitoring and stress detection
  • Ornamental horticulture

ir. Sarah Verbeke

PhD student
Research interests
  • plant-water relations
  • drought adaptation in wheat
  • wheat genetics
  • genotype-phenotype gap
  • plant modelling

ir. Jonathan Vermeiren

PhD student
Research interests
  • Plant sensors
  • Light and photosynthesis
  • LED lighting
  • Tomato, lettuce and strawberry

Selwyn Villers

PhD student
Research interests
  • Research interests 
  • Functional-Structural Plant Models
  • 3D-modelling
  • Greenhouse light modelling

Administrative and Technical staff

Ann Byttebier


Philip Deman


Geert Favyts


Erik Moerman


Pui Yi Ng


Master students 2018-2019

  • Aaron Vannevel
  • Isaac Lievevrouw
  • Justine Monville
  • Klaas De Backer
  • Klara Bouwen
  • Lise De Clerck
  • Liselot Tack
  • Roderick Schapman
  • Sandy Maniram
  • Simon Lauwers
  • Willem Goossens
  • Wouter Van den Broeck