Research Areas in the Department of Molecular Biology

Research Areas in the Department of Molecular Biology

Research Areas led by Detlef Weigel

Evolution and Adaptation
Phenotype-first approaches for the identification of natural variants with potential roles in adaptation continue to be an important part of our research. Arabidopsis thaliana can be found in very different habitats, and the species varies in many morphological, physiological and life history traits. Several are likely to be important for local adaptation, such as the onset of flowering. This is less obvious for others, but their investigation can nevertheless lead to interesting biology. more
Genome Informatics
We use both phenotype-first and genotype-first approaches to understand how plants adapt to their environment. The most extensively investigated species remains Arabidopsis thaliana.
Our research focuses on assembling and annotating genomes de novo, developing graph-based methods for pan-genome analyses as well as studies of spontaneous mutation rates and of epigenomic variation. more
Microbes and Immunity
We aim to understand how microbes shape the immune gene repertoire of A. thaliana. We are using natural populations to establish the links that exist between microbiome composition and genetic diversity of the host. This will be a crucial step in identifying causal agents that drive differentiation of the plant immune system in the wild. In addition, we are using local A. thaliana populations from stands around Tübingen to investigate the dynamics of plant pathogen spread in natural host populations, taking into account that pre-existing microbiomes might alter host susceptibility. more
Pseudomonas bacteria invading a plant leaf through stomata. (False colored scanning electron microscopic image; copyright Sonja Kersten & Detlef Weigel, MPI for Biology Tübingen)
The PATHOCOM project is funded by an ERC Synergy Grant. It is running from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2027, and is a joint effort of the groups of Detlef Weigel at the Max Planck Institute, Fabrice Roux at the CNRS, and Joy Bergelson at NYU. more

Research Areas led by Departmental Group Leaders

Computational Biology
Group Leader: Hajk-Georg Drost

The group develops cutting-edge software solutions to deal with the ever-increasing amount of genomic information. more
Ecological Genetics
Group Leader: Rebecca Schwab

We study the spatial and temporal dynamics of virulence and resistance in a plant-oomycete pathosystem to understand how genetic heterogeneity of disease resistance evolves.  more
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