Bert De Rybel Lab

Research focus

​The development of vascular tissues was one of the most important evolutionary adaptations that allowed plants to grow in environments other than water and to populate the land. Vascular tissues provide mechanical support and facilitate the transport of water, nutrients, hormones and other signaling molecules throughout the plant. These functions have enabled land plants to grow beyond the size of mosses. Early land plants adopted a tissue organization comprising three major tissue types, which can be found in almost all organs: the outer epidermis, ground tissues and centrally localized vascular tissues. This organization proved to be evolutionarily very successful, as it is still found in leaves, stems and roots of most modern land plants.

The plant vascular system develops from a handful of provascular initial cells in the early embryo into a whole range of different cell types in the mature plant. In order to account for such proliferation and to generate this kind of diversity, vascular tissue development relies on a large number of highly oriented cell divisions. Different hormonal and genetic pathways, such as for example the TARGET OF MONOPTEROS5 / LONESOME HIGHWAY (TMO5/LHW) pathway, have been implicated in this process and several of these have been recently interconnected. Nevertheless, how such networks control the actual division plane orientation and how they interact with the generic cell cycle machinery to coordinate these divisions remains a major unanswered question that we are currently addressing in our lab.


Plant vascular development: from early specification to differentiationDe Rybel Bert Mähönen Ap. Helariutta Y. Weijers D.NATURE REVIEWS MOLECULAR CELL BIOLOGY, 17, 30-40, 2016
Genetic and hormonal control of vascular tissue proliferationSmet Wouter De Rybel BertCURRENT OPINION IN PLANT BIOLOGY, 29, 50-56, 2016
A bHLH-Based Feedback Loop Restricts Vascular Cell Proliferation in PlantsVera-Sirera F De Rybel Bert Urbez C Kouklas E Pesquera M Alvarez-Mahecha J. C Minguet E Tuominen H Carbonell J Borst J. W Weijers D. Blázquez M. ADEVELOPMENTAL CELL, 35, 432-43, 2015
Plant development. Integration of growth and patterning during vascular tissue formation in ArabidopsisDe Rybel B Adibi M Breda A. S Wendrich J. R Smit M. E Novak O Yamaguchi N Yoshida S Van Isterdael Gert Palovaara J Nijsse B Boekschoten M. V Hooiveld G Beeckman Tom Wagner D. P. Ljung K Fleck C Weijers D.SCIENCE, 345, 1255215, 2014
A bHLH complex controls embryonic vascular tissue establishment and indeterminate growth in ArabidopsisDe Rybel Bert Möller B Yoshida S Grabowicz I Barbier De Reuille P Boeren S. Smith R. D. Borst J. W Weijers D.DEVELOPMENTAL CELL, 24, 426-37, 2013

Job openings


New insights into radial expansion of plants can boost biomass production

08/02/2019 - Besides the longitudinal growth, plants also enlarge in the radial sense. This thickening of plant stems & roots provides physical support to plants, provides us with wood and cork & plays a role in sequestering atmospheric carbon into plant biomass

Bert De Rybel

Bert De Rybel

Research area(s)

Model organism(s)


PhD: Ghent Univ., Ghent, Belgium, 2009
Postdoc: Wageningen Univ., Wageningen, The Netherlands, 2010-14
Postdoc: VIB Dept. of Plant Systems Biology, UGent, Belgium, 2016-16
VIB Group leader as of January 2017

Contact Info

VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems BiologyUGent-VIB Research Building FSVMTechnologiepark 71 9052 GENTRoute description