Our group is deciphering the molecular mechanisms by which plants and microorganisms recognize each other in order to establish agronomically important, beneficial, symbiotic interactions. In particular we work on the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis between legume plants and rhizobia bacteria (LR symbiosis), which enables growth of legumes to be independent of added nitrogen fertilizers, and the symbiosis between most higher plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM symbiosis), which allows a better uptake of nutrients and water from the soil. These two symbioses are evolutionarily related; their establishment involves structurally similar microbial signals that activate the same signalling pathway in the plant, called the Common Symbiotic Signalling Pathway (CSSP). We work on the microbial signals and the plant receptors/signal transduction components that are required to activate this pathway, using a combination of genetic, biochemical, cell biology and genomic approaches. Our work uses model plants (the legume Medicago truncatula and the monocot Brachypodium distachyon) with translational work towards crop plants, including pea, soybean and wheat. Through understanding the mechanisms of symbiotic signaling, our work aims to improve the use of symbiotic signals and beneficial symbioses in sustainable agricultural systems.