Horticultural plants are also very vulnerable to future predicted temperature increases, and it is predicted that yields of many crop plants will decline by about 10% for every 1ºC increase in temperature. Despite the importance of temperature signalling, we know relatively little about the underlying mechanisms of how temperature is perceived and how this information is integrated into development and adaptation pathways. In our group we are therefore using multi-disciplinary approaches to identify thermosensors and the associated signal transduction pathways.
We are working in model as well as key horticultural plants, and use genetics, gene expression analysis, ChIP and DAP-seq, bioinformatics, proteomics and genome-editing to identify, test and validate hypotheses for how temperature is sensed. This knowledge is of both fundamental interest as well as having considerable potential scope for application in breeding climate-resilient crops. The IGZ provides an ideal environment for this research, and we have the opportunity to collaborate and benefit from outstanding local research groups both within the institute and at the nearby Golm campus (Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology and University of Potsdam) as well as the Freie and Humboldt universities in Berlin.
We welcome applications from outstanding scientists at all levels who are excited about working on these important questions with us. Former students in the lab have gone on to PhD positions at Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, the John Innes Centre and MIT. Six former Wigge lab postdocs have gone on to run their own research groups.