Jo Hulsmans

Favourite Thing: I love doing experiments and trying to make sense out of the immense stream of data that we generate. It is really amazing if you can mathematically predict the way a plant will behave, based on what you know from previous experiments, and then verify it by doing it yourself.



Sint-Hubertuscollege in Neerpelt, Belgium


University of Leuven, Belgium: Bioscience engineering and then University of Warwick: Systems biology

Work History:


University of Warwick

Current Job:

Working on my PhD at Warwick!

Me and my work

I look at how plant roots can ‘sense’ bacteria in their environment.

I want to know why there is one family of plants¬†(the family of beans!)¬†that has developped a symbiotic relationship with a species of bacteria (called rhizobium) in their roots while other plants do not seem to be able to do it. The first thing we have to do to find this out is figure out what plants ‘think’ when they sense the bacteria, they can see them as an enemy, or a friend or neither.

My Typical Day

I walk into my lab and look at what I have to do for the day. One experiment, from starting to grow the plants to taking samples typically takes 12 days so I usually have multiple experiments running at the same time

What I'd do with the money

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Who is your favourite singer or band?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

Travelling, highlights are India, Togo and Cameroon.

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

More travelling, brilliant results and seeing a live dinosaur (birds don’t count!)

What did you want to be after you left school?

A paleontologist

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

occasionally, I had detention a few times

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Tell us a joke.