Molecular Physiology
The research within Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Lothar Willmitzer's department, including seven research groups, is focused on metabolism in its broadest sense, primarily using reverse genetics to alter plants and functional genomic approaches to analyse the pleiotropic effects of these alterations.

Research groups

Amino Acid and Sulfur Metabolism (Dr. Rainer Hoefgen)
Applied Metabolome Analysis (Dr. Joachim Kopka)
Central Metabolism (Dr. Alisdair Fernie)
Small-Molecule Signalling (Dr. Aleksandra Skirycz)
Stress Control Networks (Dr. Salma Balazadeh)
Metabolic regulation of Plant Growth (Dr. Camila Caldana)
The Genetics of Crop Metabolism (Dr. Saleh Alseekh)

Plant Reproductive Biology and Epigenetics
The department of Prof. Dr. Claudia Köhler with four different research groups studies genetic and epigenetic processes regulating flowering plant reproduction and their impact on plant speciation. The main focus is to understand processes regulating seed formation, seed growth and the establishment of hybridization barriers.

Research groups

Epigenetic Mechanisms of Plant Reproduction (Prof. Dr. Claudia Köhler)
Seed Development and Apomixis (Dr. Duarte Figueiredo)
Intercellular Macromolecular Transport (Dr. Fritz Kragler)
Metabolism and Development (Dr. Vanessa Wahl)

Organelle Biology, Biotechnology and Molecular Ecophysiology
Research of six research groups in the Department of Professor Dr. Ralph Bock focuses on the biology of the two DNA-containing cell organelles in plants, plastids (chloroplasts) and mitochondria, and their integration with the nucleocytosolic compartment.

Research groups

Organelle Biology and Biotechnology (Prof. Dr. Ralph Bock)
Algal Biomineralization (Dr. André Scheffel)
Cytoplasmic and Evolutionary Genetics (Dr. Stephan Greiner)
Biophysics and Photosynthesis Research (Dr. Mark Aurel Schöttler)
Regulation of Photosynthesis (Dr. Ute Armbruster)
Translational Regulation in Plants (Dr. Reimo Zoschke)

Department-Independent Research Groups

Current News

The mechanism of convergent selection of maize and rice yield.

All roads lead to Rome

April 07, 2022
Possibility of de novo domestication of wild plants by cultivated plants
Cinderella of chemical biology

Cinderella of chemical biology

February 23, 2022
Small molecules, largely ignored until now, have regulatory functions in stress reduction
What carotenoids have to do with plant yield and tolerance

What carotenoids have to do with plant yield and tolerance

February 03, 2022
How changes in carotenoid metabolism can improve plants

Recent Research Highlights

Journal Article (42)

Wang, S., Li, Y., He, L., Yang, J., Fernie, A. R. & Luo, J. Natural variance at the interface of plant primary and specialized metabolism. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 67, (2022).
Zhu, F., Jadhav, S. S., Tohge, T., Salem, M. A., Li, J. M., Giovannoni, J. J., Cheng, Y., Alseekh, S. & Fernie, A. R. A comparative transcriptomics and eQTL approach identifies SlWD40 as a tomato fruit ripening regulator. Plant Physiology (2022). doi:10.1093/plphys/kiac200
Fünfgeld, M. F. F., Wang, W., Ishihara, H., Arrivault, S., Feil, R., Smith, A. M., Stitt, M., Lunn, J. E. & Niittylä, T. Sucrose synthases are not involved in starch synthesis in Arabidopsis leaves. Nature Plants (2022). doi:10.1038/s41477-022-01140-y
Wu, M., Dong, Y., Zhang, Q., Li, S., Chang, L., Loiacono, F. V., Ruf, S., Zhang, iang & Bock, R. Efficient control of western flower thrips by plastid-mediated RNA interference. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 119, (2022).
Huc, J., Dziasek, K., Pachamuthu, K., Woh, T., Köhler, C. & Borges, F. Bypassing reproductive barriers in hybrid seeds using chemically induced epimutagenesis. The Plant Cell 34, 989–1001 (2022).


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How to join MPI-MP

IMPRS and PhD programme
University graduates who are interested in modern plant research can work on their doctorate at our institute. Our doctoral programme is open to students from all countries. The doctoral research is done under the guidance of our directors, group leaders and senior scientists. We work closely with the Faculty of Science at the University of Potsdam where most of our doctoral researchers are registered and enrolled during their doctorate. The doctoral thesis is submitted and defended at the University, which also confers the doctoral degree.

Job Offers

No Vacancies

Further Information



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