The new research unit PHIM (Plant Health Institute of Montpellier) was created on 1 January 2021 by grouping together three research units.

Three research units based in Montpellier have joined together to form the UMR PHIM (Plant Health Institute of Montpellier): the joint research units BGPI (Biology and Genetics of Plant-Parasite Interactions) and IPME (Plant-Microorganism-Environment Interactions) - involving researchers from the IRD - as well as the own research unit Bioaggressors (Bioaggressors: risk analysis and control). BGPI and IPME were also considered as "twin" research units by the previous AERES/HCERES evaluations. Automatic line return
Numerous joint publications testify to the strong scientific links between BGPI and IPME on the one hand, and between Bioaggressors and BGPI on the other. A shared "southern tropism" also motivated the decision to merge. Here again, the publications do not deceive since for the 2014-2019 period, 60% of IPME’s production, 67% of Bioag and 37% of BGPI are co-publications with partners from the South.

PHIM is made up of 120 permanent staff members who will eventually work in a common building, while benefiting from infrastructures that have already proved their worth. The unit mobilises skills in bacteriology, entomology, mycology, virology, epidemiology, population genetics, phytopathology, molecular biology and bioinformatics. Automatic line return
"This is how a critical mass of scientists will be brought together to answer complex questions around the central theme of the sustainability of plant health in Mediterranean and subtropical crops," explains Jean-Benoît Morel, director of the new unit. PHIM wishes to develop new interdisciplinary research actions, on several scales, on fungal, bacterial and viral diseases as well as plant pests.

For this purpose, four departments have been defined:

  • ITEM, dedicated to the study of molecular dialogue and the evolutionary processes that shape the interaction between plants and pathogens ;
  • VIROM, dedicated to the study of interactions between plants, viruses and their insect vectors, as well as the dynamics, evolution and management of viral diseases;
  • PHYTOBIOM studies the plant holobionte, the relationship between the microbiota and the emergence of diseases, and the impact of plant-plant interaction on the physiology of plant resistance;
  • PRISM, dedicated to the identification of key factors determining the dynamics and impact of pests and diseases of tropical perennial crops to ensure better management.


Jean-Benoît Morel, INRAE (directeur unité)

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