Born in 1958 in Münster. Studies in biochemistry and genetics at Marburg, Freiburg, and Cologne Universities, Germany. After a Ph.D. thesis on light regulation in plants, he became interested in molecular processes underlying plant-microbe interactions. Major research areas are the innate immune system of plants, mechanisms of fungal pathogenesis, and the plant microbiota. He worked from 1989 to 1990 as postdoctoral fellow on the development of DNA marker technologies in plant genomes. In 1991 he started his own research group at the RWTH Aachen, Germany, with a focus on plant disease resistance mechanisms to fungal pathogens. From 1995 to 2000 he held a senior research position on plant innate immunity in the Sainsbury Laboratory at the John Innes Centre, England. Since 2000 he is Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne, and since 2003 Honorary Professor at Cologne University.
Paul Schulze-Lefert is an elected member of EMBO, the National Academy of Sciences, USA, the German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, and of the American Academy of Microbiology, USA. He is science advisory board member of the Two Blades Foundation and a co-founder and advisor of AgBiome, a for-profit company that explores the crop microbiome to develop biologicals that improve plant health and productivity.