Department of Physiology and Cell Biology
The department's research concentrates primarily on revealing the regulation of transport, metabolism and development in plants and certain microbial expression systems. The over-arching goal is to optimize agriculturally relevant traits in crop plants and to develop biotechnological methods, using a variety of physiological, biochemical, molecular and cell biological approaches.
The main focus of the Research on the Significance of Nutrition for Plant Development area is the membrane transport of nutrients, their metabolism and the interaction between nutrients and plant hormones. The research seeks to understand and exploit nutrient uptake and efficiency, with a particular focus on the root system.
Research in the Metabolic Pathways of Plant Primary and Secondary Metabolism area studies the metabolic response to unfavorable environmental conditions. This relies on a combination of applied biochemistry, physiology and molecular biology approaches. The target is to characterize and utilize these pathways to encourage the production of health-promoting metabolites, which are associated in the plant with stress tolerance.
A further research priority is the Reproductive Biology of Plants. In order to optimize biotechnological applications, key pathways involved in pollen embryogenesis are studied, aiming to develop and improve minimally invasive procedures to facilitate the genetic modification of several cereal species.
The research is based on specialized mass spectrometry and microscopy, which are used to both quantify and qualify the distribution of a wide range of compounds produced in plant tissue and to explore their impact on development.