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Juniorprofessor for Molecular Genetics of Eukaryotes

Felix Willmund






Curriculum vitae:

  • since October 2014: Juniorprofessor for Molecular Genetics of Eukaryotes, University of Kaiserslautern (Germany)
  • 04/2013 - 09/2014: Group Leader at the TU Kaiserslautern (Germany) - DAAD fellow
  • 02/2008 - 02/2013: Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, CA, USA-EMBO fellow
  • 08/2007 - 01/2008: Postdoc, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 04/2004 - 07/2007: PhD student in the group of Dr. Michael Schroda, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 1998 - 2004: Studies of Biology (Major Biochemistry) at University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 2001: Exchange year with BSc degree at the Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada

Major Research Interest

My group investigates the pathways of protein folding and quality control in the chloroplast of photosynthetic active eukaryotes. During protein biogenesis chloroplast proteomes face a highly challenging task of integrating proteins encoded by the nuclear genome and proteins encoded by the small chloroplast genome. Chloroplasts, as well as other cellular compartments, posses a family of diverse proteins- termed molecular chaperones- that assist newly synthesized proteins during maturation. We apply molecular biological, biochemical and systems-biology approaches to understand the function of these chaperones.


In addition we are interested in understanding the molecular consequences of abiotic stress (i.e. heat stress) for proteome homeostasis of green alga. We examine how stress-induced aggregates are formed and how cells manage to clear these aggregates.

Selected Publications

  • Ries F, Carius Y, Rohr M, Gries K, Keller S, Lancaster CRD, Willmund F. Structural and molecular comparison of bacterial and eukaryotic trigger factors. (2017) Sci Rep. Sep 6;7(1):10680. 
  • Trösch R, Mühlhaus R, Schroda M, and Willmund F. (2014) ATP-dependent molecular chaperones in plastids - more complex than expected. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Sep;1847(9):872-88. Epub 2015 Jan 14. Review.
  • Neef DW, Jaeger A, Gomez-Pastor R, Willmund F, Frydman J and Thiele DJ (2014) A direct regulatory interaction between chaperonin TRiC and stress responsive transcription factor HSF1. Cell Rep 9(3):955-966.
  • Trösch R, Schroda M and Willmund F (2014). Molecular Chaperone Functions in Plastids. PLASTID BIOLOGY. Advances in Plant Biology: Vol. 5:325-358. 
  • Pechmann S*, Willmund F*, Frydman J. (2013). The ribosome as a hub for protein quality control. Mol Cell 49: 411-21 *Authors contributed equally
  • Willmund F, del Alamo M, Pechmann S, Chen T, Albanèse V, Dammer EB, Peng J, Frydman J. (2013). The cotranslational function of ribosome-associated Hsp70 in eukaryotic protein homeostasis. Cell 152: 196-209