Dina in 't Zandt

Dr. Dina in 't Zandt

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Visiting Address

Droevendaalsesteeg 10
6708 PB Wageningen

+31 (0) 317 47 34 00

The Netherlands



I am intrigued by the diversity and intricacy of plant-soil-microbiota interactions and the challenge these interactions pose to unravelling their role in ecosystem dynamics. I aim to answer fundamental questions and apply these to societal challenges.


I obtained my MSc in biology from Radboud University in Nijmegen in 2014, during which I specialised in plant ecophysiology. At Radboud University, I defined fertiliser application strategies to guide crop root growth towards deeper soil layers to increase crop resilience to severe summer drought. During my MSc Erasmus exchange at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, I used imaging techniques to test the ability of maize inbred lines to respond to local high nitrogen patches. After my MSc, I became a Junior Researcher at the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences in Kleve, Germany. I studied how interactions between cover crops and soil microbiota temporarily immobilise soil nitrogen and reduce nitrogen leaching from agricultural soils.

In 2015, I started my PhD at Radboud University, where I showed how plant-soil feedback drives plant species spatial-temporal patterns and therewith underlies plant species coexistence and diversity in grasslands. As a Postdoc at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, I studied how long-term summer drought shifts plant community seasonal dynamics in Alpine meadows. I continued my PhD and postdoc lines of research at the Czech Academy of Sciences, while also incorporating a strong focus on plant-microbiota interactions and networks. Amongst others, I showed that a decoupling of soil prokaryote and fungal networks associates to plant community stability, and how temperature and precipitation effects change plant community composition, soil properties, and ultimately plant-microbiota interactions. For part of this research, I was hosted at the Agriculture and Food Development Authority Teagasc in Ireland.

In 2023, I obtained a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions individual postdoctoral fellowship. This fellowship brought be to the Netherlands Institute of Ecology to study the development of plant-soil-microbiota interactions over a chronosequence of agricultural land abandonment (Veluwe), and how these interactions are shaped by grassland management (Nutrient Network).


Key publications