Sebastian studied at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. During his Ph.D. he cloned and characterised a tomato disease resistance gene. He is a co-discoverer of the DNA binding code of TAL effectors, enabling the development of new genome editing methods. Sebastian continued his research at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK to study plant pathogenic filamentous microbes and is now a Gatsby Research Fellow and Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, Sainsbury Laboratory (SLCU). His current research revolves around common and contrasting principles of plant colonisation by beneficial and detrimental microbes.