Major Research Interest
Cells are the smallest unit of life. Since plants are sessile, intracellular changes in response to a plethora of environmental challenges are fundamental. Over the last centuries, plant behavior in response to biotic (e.g. pathogens) and abiotic stress (e.g. drought, cold) has been studied extensively but many of the underlying molecular and cellular adaptations are not well understood. My group is interested in cellular adaptations upon changing environmental conditions with an emphasis on organelle organization and vesicle trafficking. We found that the plants largest organelle - the vacuole, is not only directly responsive to hormone treatment but in addition participates in providing a scaffold for successful plant defense against pathogens. Hence, altered vacuolar morphology reflects environmental changes that in turn directly impact on plant growth and development.