The department of Prof. Mark Stitt studies a wide set of physiological processes involved in orchestrating photosynthetic carbon metabolism, nitrogen and phosphate utilisation, growth, and storage. Systems biology will be emphasised and forward and reverse genetic tools will often be used.
The group of Prof. Dr. Mark Stitt uses a systems-oriented approach to look at how biochemical pathways involved in primary carbon and nitrogen metabolism are integrated and regulated, and how they affect plant growth and development. We are developing user-friendly data visualization tools, sensitive high-throughput assays for enzymes and metabolites, and a suite of growth conditions to reveal the impact of changes in the carbon and nutrient status on metabolism, growth and development. Arabidopsis thaliana, tomato and maize are the main plants used in these investigations.
The main focus of Dr. Fritz Kragler's group is the characterization of the transport mechanism and function of proteins and RNA molecules moving between cells. Pores named plasmodesmata connect adjacent plant cells and facilitate the exchange of proteins and RNA molecules between cells. A plasmodesma forms a channel through the cellulosic cell wall and viruses use the connection to spread from cell to cell. [more]
The group of Dr Alexander Graf studies how the formation of protein complexes and posttranslational modification of proteins contribute to the regulation of metabolic pathways in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. High throughput cutting-edge mass spectrometric analyses of the plant proteome combined with bioinformatics data-analysis play a central role in our projects. However, we also employ classic genetic and biochemical methods to study gene functions in focused approaches.
Dr. Vanessa Wahl’s group focuses on how metabolic and nutritional status affects developmental transitions in plants. In particular, we are interested in processes at the shoot apical meristem (SAM) that regulate meristem size and the timing of the floral transition. We use Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system in order to understand basic mechanisms. We are also applying this research to study the regulation of developmental transitions in the perennial Arabidopsis relative Arabis alpina and crop species Solanum tuberosum (potato).[more]