On March 1st, Geert Smant was appointed as professor and chair at the Laboratory of Nematology at Wageningen University & Research. He is the successor of Prof. Jaap Bakker, who has held this position since 1998. Geert Smant graduated on symbiont-independent degradation of cellulose by animals (i.e. nematodes) in 1998, which at that time was considered a breakthrough discovery in biology. It is thought that horizontal gene transfer of carbohydrate-degrading enzymes from bacteria has played an important role in the evolution of plant parasitism in nematodes. In his current research, Geert Smant studies the molecular and genetic interactions between sedentary endoparasitic nematodes and plants, with a particular focus on the role of stylet secretions in virulence of nematodes and associated host responses in plants.