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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology IPMB - Department of Plant and Microbial Biology

Prof. Cyril Zipfel - Molecular and Cellular Plant Physiology

We are interested in how plants perceive their environment and respond appropriately to coordinate their growth and development in the face of external challenges.

In particular, we are focusing on cell surface-localised immune receptors – called pattern recognition receptors – that perceive microbe-derived or endogenous patterns to activate innate immune responses.

Plant pattern recognition receptors are receptor kinases or are part of receptor kinase complexes, and thus offer exquisite model systems to study the molecular basis of plant immunity, but also the molecular mechanisms underlying the function, activation and regulation of receptor kinase-mediated signaling pathways involved in growth, development or response to environmental stresses.

In addition, we are interested in the evolution, identification and engineering of immune receptors to improve disease resistance in crops.

We are addressing these questions using a combination of molecular genetics, synthetic biology, biochemistry, proteomics, bioimaging, and physiological approaches.