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CEPLAS is developing innovative strategies for improvement of sustainable crop production. The cluster, which is funded within the Excellence Strategy of the German Research Foundation, is formed by scientists of the University of Cologne and Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf, of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research as well as of the Forschungszentrum Jülich.
Climate change and the growing population of the Earth are slowly limiting the resources necessary for the cultivation of crops, such as arable land, water and nutrients. To overcome these limitations and ensure sufficient food production, the scientists at CEPLAS aim to increase the fundamental understanding of the genetic basis of complex traits and use it for crop improvement. To achieve this ambitious aim they are investigating mechanisms of plant adaptation, through analysis of natural variation and biodiversity, and are exploiting the newly acquired knowledge for synthetic biology.
In addition, CEPLAS established new training programmes for undergraduate students, PhD students and post-docs. By bringing together plant and micro-biologists with theoreticians, the universities of Cologne and Düsseldorf focus the training of the next generation of biologists on quantitative biology. This interdisciplinary training then underpins the predictive and synthetic biology approaches needed to achieve the research objectives of CEPLAS.

Speaker: Professor Dr. Andreas Weber (HHU Duesseldorf).
Co-speaker: Professor Dr. Stanislav Kopriva (University of Cologne).

Managing coordinator: Dr. Céline Hönl (CEPLAS Central Office)
Project manager: Dr. Cordula Jörgens (University of Cologne)

CEPLAS research groups at University of Cologne