Understanding of how plants function, grow and develop, and complete their life cycles, has been of fundamental scientific interest for centuries. Today, basic research covers many scales that integrate physiology and ecology, from molecules to cells through to whole plants and vegetation. Important applications are to be found in areas such as agriculture, conservation and climate change.
The Institute of Plant Sciences carries out research in Molecular Plant Physiology, Chemical Ecology, Plant Ecology, and Palaeoecology. It contributes to the teaching programs in BSc Biology and to several MSc courses
The IPS has strong links to the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, the Institute of Cell Biology, the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, and is a member of the Swiss Plant Science Web and the European Plant Science Organisation. The IPS is partner for biodiversity and ecosystems of the Wyss Academy for Nature
Biochemist Rodrigo Siqueira Reis studies how RNA structures function in the adaptation of plants to higher temperatures. The aim is to gain a better basic understanding of how plants adapt to the circumstances of climate change. Dr. Reis will join the IPS as Eccellenza Assistant Professor in 2022.
Dr. Michael Raissig will start as a new assistant professor (tenure track) at the Institute for Plant Science on Feb 1st 2022.
Michael is a developmental geneticist studying how land plants develop different forms of stomata, which are "breathing pores" on the surface of leaves. His group is using primarily the model grass Brachypodium distachyon to understand how grasses develop a highly innovative stomatal morphology, and how this form contributes to the grass stomata's superior functionality and water-use efficiency. Michael is joining the IPS together with his co-group leader Dr. Heike Lindner, who will start her own line of research studying the regenerative potential of the succulent model plant Kalanchoë laxiflora.
Plant secondary metabolites often have multiple functions, but how these functions interact to determine plant-environment interactions is not well understood. This study demonstrates that the protective effects of multifunctional maize secondary metabolites against a major pest are fully dependent on soil chemical composition. The presented findings link soil processes to leaf-defenses and illustrate the limits of using multifunctional plant secondary metabolites to combat major herbivore pests.
The climate crisis and the crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and by biodiversity loss must be tackled together. Many countries are working on strategies to implement the Paris Agreement. At the climate conference in Glasgow, therefore, it will be imperative to reconcile short- and long-term goals and measures. In this context, the WBGU, of which Markus Fischer is a member, has issued a policy paper.
Globally leading biodiversity and climate experts, including Markus Fischer, participated in a four-day virtual workshop to explore the synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation. They produced a widely recognised workshop report which is published on the linked website.
An election as EMBO member recognizes a scientist’s research excellence and outstanding achievements in the life sciences. Congratulations to Cris Kuhlemeier!
The "Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships", has been awarded to Adriana M. Jeckel. It is awarded annually by the European Commission and gives experienced researchers the opportunity to enrich their scientific career with a stay abroad. Adriana's project is investigating the Biological Impact of Benzoxazinoid Metabolization by a Specialist Root Herbivore (BISEM).
Instead of completing the plant physiology practical course classically at the lab bench, the students were given the task of escaping from the Botanic Garden's greenhouses by solving tasks on the plant's defence against biotic stress.
We are starting a global research network with the aim to better understand the impact of invertebrate herbivores and pathogenic fungi on plant communities! Interested to collaborate? http://bug-net.org
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