Dr. Joost van Dongen
New Position: Professor RWTH Aachen University
The group of Dr. Joost van Dongen analyzes the regulation of energy production, which is of vital importance for organisms, including plants. Via photosynthesis, plants have the unique opportunity to collect energy from sunlight and store this into carbohydrates. Via mitochondrial respiration, energy can be released again from the photosynthate for utilization in other biochemical processes.Plant respiration is characterized by a multitude of alternative metabolic pathways and the efficiency by which ATP is produced from the different respiratory substrates - such as carbohydrates and oxygen - does vary.
The first major research topic of the Energy Metabolism Group is to characterize the adaptive molecular and biochemical responses of plants to changes in the oxygen availability. The group is investigating the oxygen sensing and signaling cascade in plants and is analyzing metabolic regulation of primary carbon and nitrogen metabolism in relation to mitochondrial respiration. The second major research topic investigates the impact of beneficial root bacteria on plant primary metabolism and growth.