The Science

Developmental plasticity is a key adaptive process allowing organisms to cope with changes in their environment by modulating the phenotypes produced by a given genotype. This is particularly obvious in plants that constantly adapt their form. In parallel to this plasticity, there is a great regularity in the shape of the organs that plants continuously produce. How is the plant coping with both plasticity and robustness?

Our lab is interested in understanding the molecular and cellular basis of developmental plasticity/robustness. For this we use the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and study the development of its root system, in particular the formation of the lateral roots.

Specifically, we pursue two main lines of research:

  1. The role played by small RNAs molecules in this process.
  2. To understand the morphodynamics of lateral root formation. 

Our research will lead to a better understanding of how organisms balance controlled stimulation and suppression of developmental programs. It will also shed lights on the cellular basis underlying plant organ morphogenesis. 

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The Lab

The laboratory is part of the Center for Organismal Studies of the University of Heidelberg.

The lab is also a member of the Cluster of Excellence CellNetworks and has been created by endowments of the Schaller foundation and  the Baden-Württemberg state. It is now supported by grants from the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation and the DFG


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