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Members IRTG 1525

The IRTG 1525 faculty consisted of 15 junior and senior faculty members at HHU and the Jülich Research Center, and 20 faculty members at MSU, one of the strongest plant research groups in the United States. Under the umbrella of the common research theme, the scaffold of iGRAD-Plant is build by two parallel and complementary research thrusts. Throughout the 9-year funding period 68 doctoral researchers, 6 postdocs and 8 qualification students participated in the iGRAD-Plant qualification program, 39 of them received DFG-funding, 29 were associated members.

Associated faculty members were mostly from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Plant Biology and/or the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory at Michigan State University.

  • Christoph Benning (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)
  • Federica Brandizzi (Plant Biology)
  • Robin Buell (Plant Biology)
  • Yuehua Cui (Statistics & Probability)
  • Brad Day (Plant Pathology)
  • Eva Farre (Plant Biology)
  • Maren Friesen (Plant Biology)
  • Sheng Yang He (Plant Biology)
  • Susanne Hoffmann-Benning (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)
  • Jianping Hu (Plant Biology)
  • Cheryl Kerfeld (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
  • David Kramer (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)
  • Robert Last (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)
  • Jennifer Lau (Plant Biology)
  • Beronda Montgomery (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)
  • Barbara Sears (Plant Biology)
  • Thomas Sharkey (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)
  • Shin-Han Shiu (Plant Biology)
  • Michael Thomashow (Microbial & Molecular Genetics)
  • Jonathan Walton (Plant Biology)
  • Curt Wilkerson (Plant Biology)

Speaker HHU

Prof. Dr. Andreas Weber (Plant Biochemistry)

Deputy Speakers

Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Simon (Developmental Genetics)

apl. Prof. Dr. Nicole Linka (Plant Biochemistry)

Speaker MSU

Prof. Dr. Barbara B. Sears

Department of Plant Biology, Director Graduate Program in Genetics

Michigan State University

Program Coordinator

Dr. Petra Fackendahl

2021

Maria Paola Puggioni

Shizue Matsubara – FZ Jülich (Regulation of photoacclimation and carotenoid biosynthesis)

PhD student

Thesis: Dynamic Regulation of Oxygenic Photosynthesis: Study of Long term Acclimation to Photo-oxidative Stress induced by Excess of Light

Current Position: Research Schlar at Michigan State University (Federica Brandizzi)

 

2020

Marc-Sven Röll

Andreas Weber – Plant Biochemistry

associated PhD student

Thesis: Natural and synthetic metabolism of plant photorespiration

Current Position: 

 

Daniela Lichtblau

Petra Bauer - Botany

Associated PhD student

Thesis: Targeted screen for novel protein-protein interactions and their role in iron deficiency response regulation

Current Position:  Postdoctoral Researcher at HHU (Botany)

 

Eva Maleckova

Andreas Weber - Plant Biochemistry

Associated PhD student

Thesis: Regulation of crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) in the facultative CAM species Talinum triangulare

Current Position: Postdoctoral Researcher at HHU (Microbiology)

 

Rocio Ochoa-Fernandez

Matias Zurbriggen – Synthetic Biology

associated PhD student

Thesis: Development of Optogenetic Tools for Plant Synthetic Biology

Current Position: 

 

Franziska Kuhnert

Andreas Weber – Plant Biochemistry

associated PhD student

Thesis: The Role of Organellar Transporters in C3/C4-Metabolism

Current Position: Postdoctoral Researcher at HHU (Plant Biochemistry)

 

Hugo de Morais Dourado Neto

Martin Lercher – Computational Cell Biology

Associated PhD student

Thesis : Quantitative Principles of Optimal Cellular Resource Allocation

Current Position: Postdoctoral researcher at HHU (Computational Cell Biology)

 

Yu Fu

Daniel Schubert – Plant Developmental Epigentics (now at FU Berlin)

Associated PhD student

Thesis: Cell-type specific epi-genomic studies in Arabidopsis thaliana

Current Position: Postdoctoral Researcher at Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences Institute of Plant Protection

 

Meng-Ying Lin

Andreas Weber – Plant Biochemistry

associated PhD student

Thesis: Studies into the genetic architecture of C3-C4 characteristic in Moricandia

Current Position: Postdoctoral Researcher at HHU (Plant Biochemistry)

 

Lennart Cahrton

Nicole Linka – Plant Biochemistry

associated PhD student

Thesis: Elucidate the important role of peroxisomal transport proteins for plant growth and development

Current Position: Postdoctoral Researcher at Bayer

 

Mohammad Tanbir Habib

Laura Rose - Population Genetics

PhD student

Thesis: Evolutionary dynamics of LysM and LRR type symbiotic receptor-like kinases and species-specificity in root-nodule symbiosis

Current Position: 

 

2019

Birte Schwarz

Petra Bauer - Botany

PhD student

Thesis : Putative cis-regulatory elements and protein interaction networks control iron deficiency responses in Arabidopsis thaliana

Current Position: Postdoctoral researcher at Leibniz Institute for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ)

 

Amirhossein Bahramisharif

Laura Rose – Population Genetics

Associated PhD student

Thesis : The evolution of efector genes in oomycetes and biological control

Current Position: Postdoctoral researcher at HHU (Population Genetics)

 

Anastasiia Bovdilova

Veronica Maurino – Plant Molecular Physiology and Biotechnology

Associated PhD student

Thesis: Molecular adaptions and post-translational regulation of C4-NADP-malic enzyme

Current Position: Postdoctoral researcher at HHU (Plant Biochemistry and stress Physiology)

 

 2018

Björn Hielscher

Nicole Linka – Plant Biochemistry

PhD student

Thesis: Connecting metabolic networks - The role of the Mitochondiral Carrier Family in plants

Current Position: Medical Advisor at GHG, Düsseldorf

 

Shipan Das Gupta

Peter Westhoff - Developmental an Molecular Biology of Plants

PhD student

Thesis: Characterization of mesophyll-specific promoters for C$ engineering of rice and mutational analysis of leaf anatomy in Arabidopsis thaliana 

Current Position: 

Assistant Professor of Biotechnology & Genetic Enngineering department Noakhali Science and Technology University

 

Jonathan Fritzemeier

Martin Lercher - Computational Cell Biology

Postdoc

Current position: Senior Analyst at A.T. Kearny, Düsseldorf

 

Sarah Richards

Laura Rose – Population Genetics

PhD student

Thesis: Mathematical Modeling and Evolutionary Alayses of Cell-Surface Signaling in Plants

Current Position: Postdoc and lecturer at HHU

 

Regina Gratz

Petra Bauer – Botany

Associated PhD student

Thesis: FER-LIKE IRON DEFICIENCY-INDUCED TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR (FIT) activity is controlled by protein phosphorylation

Current Position: Postdoc at at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Umeå - Sweden  Prof. Torgny Näsholm)

 

Florian Hahn

Andreas Weber – Plant Biochemistry

Associated PhD student

Thesis: Genome Editing and establishment of efficient gene targeting approaches in Arabidopsis using the CRISPR/cas9 system

Current Position:  Postdoc at Rothamsted Research, UK (Vladimir Nekrasov)

 

Dagbegnon Angelo Romeo Agossou Yao

Andreas Weber – Plant Biochemistry

Associated PhD student

Thesis: Plant alanine transferase: Cloning, localization and molecular characterization

Current Position: 

 

Kaitlyn Courville

Michael Feldbrügge – Microbiology

PhD student

Thesis: The infection biology of the smut fungus Thecaphora thaspeos and its molecular cross-talk with its Brassicaceae hosts

Current Position: 

 

Alexander Hofmann

Georg Groth – Biochemical Plant Physiology

PhD student

Thesis: Biochemische Charakterisierung der Komponenten des ERECTA-Signalwegs

Current Position: Postdoc at HHU (Biochemical Plant Physiology)

 

 2017

Fabian Brandenburg

Andreas Weber – Plant Biochemistry

Associated PhD student

Thesis: Manganese Homeostasis in the Cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PPC 6803

Current Position: Postdoc at Helmholtzzentrum für Umweltforschung Leipzig (Andreas Schmid)

 

Ian Beddows

Laura Rose – Population Genetics

PhD student (fast-track)

Thesis : Hybridization and Wild Tomato

Current Position: Bioinformatics Research Scientist at Van Andel Institute, MI, USA

 

Myles Levey

Peter Westhoff - Developmental an Molecular Biology of Plants

Associated PhD student

Thesis : Die Expression des photorespiratorischen Gens 2-Phosphoglycolat-Phosphatase im Genus Flaveria und die Folgen einer beeinträchtigten Photorespiration für die C4-Pflanze Flaveria bidentis

Current Position: Teacher

 

2016 

David Heckmann 

Martin Lercher – Computational Cell Biology

PhD student (fast-track) 2010 – 2014

Thesis: Mathematical modelling of metabolism applied to the evolution of photosynthesis

iGRAD-Plant Postdoc 2014 – 2016

Current Position: Postdoc at University of California, San Diego (Bioengineering; Bernhard Palsson)

 

Sophie de Vries

Laura Rose – Population Genetics

Associated PhD student

Thesis :  The role of the RNA silencing network on the co-evolution of Phytophthora infestans and Solanum spp.

Current Position: Postdoc at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada (Claudio Slamovits)

 

Lamprinos Frantzeskakis

Michael Feldbrügge – Microbiology

PhD student

Thesis: The genome of the fungal plant pathogen Thecaphora thlaspeos

Current Position: Postdoc at RWTH Aachen (Ralf Panstruga)

 

Dominik Brilhaus

Andreas Weber – Plant Biochemistry

PhD student (fast track)

Thesis: Transcriptional adaptation in response to changing environments in plants with specialized photosynthesis types

Current Position: Postdoc at HHU (Plant Biochemistry)

 

Julia Kleinmanns

Daniel Schubert – Plant Developmental Epigentics (now at FU Berlin)

Associated PhD student

Thesis: Studies on the regulation of Polycomb-target genes and abiotic stress responses by the Arabidopsis protein BLISTER

Current Position: Postdoc at University of California, San Diego, Cell and Developmental Biology

 

Julia Schmid

Rüdiger Simon – Plant Developmental Genetics

Associated PhD student

Thesis: On the Role of CLE40 - A Peptide with Antagonistic Functions in Arabidopsis thaliana Shoot Meristem Development

Current Position:

 

Adrian Hülsewede

Rüdiger Simon – Developmental Genetics

PhD student

Thesis: Functional characterization and analysis of the ARABIDOPSIS CRINKLY 4 promoter

Current Position: Postdoc at HHU (Developmental Genetics)

 

2015 

Viviana Correa Galvis

Peter Jahns – Plant Biochemistry and stress Physiology

PhD student (fast-track)

Thesis: The role of the PsbS protein in the regulation of energy dissipation in vascular plants and green algae

Current Position: Postdoc at Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Golm (Ute Armbruster)

 

Alisandra Denton

Andreas Weber – Plant Biochemistry

PhD student (fast-track)

Thesis: Establishment of C4 Photosynthesis in Ontogeny and Evolution

Current Position: Postdoc at RWTH Aachen (Björn Usadel)

 

Lazar Pavlovic

Peter Jahns – Plant Biochemistry and stress Physiology

PhD student (fast-track)

Thesis: Regulation of energy-dependent quenching (qE) of excess light by the thylakoid transmembrane electric field (Dy) as a dynamic component of the chloroplast proton motive force (pmf)

Current Position: Regulatory Portfolio Manager at Syngenta, Canada

 

Anna Kersting

Martin Lercher – Computational Cell Biology

iGRAD-Plant Postdoc 2012 – 2013 / 2015

Current Position:

 

Thorsten Langner

Michael Feldbrügge – Microbiology

PhD student

Thesis: Charakterisierung der chitinolytischen Maschinerie aus Ustilago maydis

Current Position: Postdoc at Sainsbury Lab, Norwich, UK (Sophien Kamoun)

 

Friederike Bernsdorff

Jürgen Zeier – Molecular Ecophysiology of Plants

PhD student

Thesis: On the role of amino acids in plant disease resistance: Interplay between pipecolic acid and salicylic acid in plant systemic acquired resistance

First position after PhD: Postdoc at John Innes Center, UK (Saskia Hogenhout)

Current Position: Research Support Officer at EMBL-EBI, UK

 

Canan Külahoglu

Andreas Weber – Plant Biochemistry

PhD student

Thesis: The Transcriptomic Blueprint of C4 Photosynthesis

Current Position:

 

2014

Tatjana Levey

Peter Westhoff – Developmental an Molecular Biology of Plants

Associated PhD student

Thesis: Die Funktionen der Gene HCF107 und HCF222 bei der Biogenese der Thylakoidmembran in Arabidopsis thaliana

Current Position: Quality Manager at KHK, Cologne

 

Sophia Aldous

Peter Westhoff – Developmental an Molecular Biology of Plants

PhD student

Thesis: In planta inactivation of the C4 phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) gene of Flaveria bidentis and evolutionary analyses of the PEPC protein kinase (PPCK) gene family of Flaveria

Current Position:

 

Jan Wiese

Nicole Linka – Plant Biochemistry

PhD student

Thesis: Propionate metabolism in yeast and plants

Current Position:

 

Borjana Arsova

Independent iGRAD-Plant Postdoc 2012 – 2014

Current Position: Chargé de Recherches (F.N.R.S.), Université Liege; since 04 2016: Guest scientist at IBG2 Forschungszentrum Jülich

 

2013

Sarah Keßel-Vigelius

Nicole Linka – Plant Biochemistry

PhD student

Thesis: Toward intracellular membrane Transport-Characterization of the Mitochondrial Carrier Family in Plants

Current Position: Sales Representative Pharmaceuticals, Bayer HealthCare

 

Judith Paulus

Georg Groth – Biochemical Plant Physiology

PhD student

Thesis: Kristallisation und vergleichende Strukturuntersuchung der Phosphoenolpyruvat Carboxylase aus der C3 Pflanze Flaveria pringlei und der C4 Pflanze Flaveria trinervia

First Position after PhD: Sales Consultant at Capsid GmbH, Düsseldorf

Current Position: Postdoc at University of Oxford (Renier van der Hoorn)

 

Stefanie Schulze

Peter Westhoff – Developmental an Molecular Biology of Plants

Associated PhD student

Thesis: Evolution of the expression of the GLDP gene family encoding the P subunit of glycine decarboxylase in the genus Flaveria

First Position after PhD: Postdoc at HHU (CEPLAS)

Current Position: Postdoc at HHU (Developmental an Molecular Biology of Plants)

 

Frederique Breuers

Andreas Weber – Plant Biochemistry

Associated PhD student

Thesis: The dynamics of plastid membrane systems

Current Position: Regional Manager at Santis GmbH, Ulm

 

Rene Wink

Rüdiger Simon – Plant Developmental Genetics

PhD student

Thesis: On the funtion of peptide signaling pathways in the root meristem of Arabidopsis thaliana

First Position after PhD: Postdoc at HHU

Current Position: Postdoctoral at WPI-Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules, Nagoya University, Japan

 

2012 

Tom Ruts

Shizue Matsubara – FZ Jülich

PhD student

Thesis: Diel growth rhythms in plants - Circadian control and environmental response

First position after PhD:  Systembiologe - Crop Trait Knowledge
at BASF Plant Sciences, Belgium

Current Position: Regulatory Affairs Specialist Biotechnology and Crop Protection at Monsanto, Belgium

 

Kristin Bernhardt

Nicole Linka – Plant Biochemistry

Associated PhD student

Thesis: The role of a peroxisomal NAD+ carrier in plants

Current Position:

 

Thea Pick

Andreas Weber – Plant Biochemistry

Associated PhD student

Thesis: A systems biology approach and single gene analysis to identify transporters and regulatory proteins in the plant carbon cycle

First Position after PhD: Postdoc at HHU (CEPLAS)

Current Position: Postdoc Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Joint BioEnergy Institute, Berkeley, CA, USA (DFG Research Fellowship)

 

2011

Christian Eßer

Martin Lercher – Computational Cell Biology

iGRAD-Plant Postdoc 2010 – 2011

2012 – 2013: Postdoc at HHU (Computational Cell Biology)

Current Position: Software Engineer at Varion GmbH

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