Schleiden_summer2018

Matthias Schleiden Institute

at the Faculty of Biological Sciences

Research at the Matthias Schleiden Institute is done in the spirit of Schleiden: with a focus on cells, in an interdisciplinary way and questioning dogmas.

In the areas of General and Molecular Botany, research at the institute is done on light-regulated  processes and the circadian clock in the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and on the secondary metabolism of algae and their interactions with bacteria, among other topics. In Plant physiology, the symbiosis between plants and fungi under normal and stress conditions are in the focus. Genetic research in the institute deals with transcription factors controlling flower development, with mechanisms of gene regulation in Bacillus subtilis and other topics. Bioinformatics studies include mathematical modelling and computer simulation of biological processes such as metabolism and host-pathogen interactions.

Numerous projects have an interdisciplinary character, for example, the mathematical description of the complexity of fatty acids and polyketides, computer simulation of circadian rhythms and of the nitrogen metabolism in algae or the application of game theory in molecular and cell biology.     

Direction

Executive Director: Prof. Dr. Maria Mittag
Am Planetarium 1
07743 Jena
Phone
+49 3641 9-49201
Fax
+49 3641 9-49202
Postal address:
There is no central postal adress for the Matthias Schleiden Institute!

In der contact field you can find the adresses for the professorships for Genetics, Bioinformatics and Molecular Botany.

Genetics

genetics Philosophenweg 12

The structural unit "department of genetics" represents the research and teaching in the field of genetics. The focus of the scientific research lies in the mechanisms of gene regulation in bacteria, plants and animals. Our structural unit consists of two research groups.

Department of Genetics

The research group analyses the structure, function and evolution of transcription factors. We focus on proteins that are coded by MADS-box-genes. Our interest reaches from the relationship between structure and functionality on a molecular level and the mechanism of gene regulation (including the importance of microRNA) to the impact of transcription factors during the evolution of gene regulatory networks plus developmental processes. One emphasis of our research is to clarify the role of MADS-Boxes genes on the evolution of blossoms, fruits and the emergence of biodiversity in general. The model systems used in our research are a variety of terrestrial plants, such as moss or flowering plants as well as crops like different types of collard, rice, corn, tulips and spruces; in addition wild plants (e.g. field pepperweed) and characteristic laboratory models (e.g. thale cress Arabidopsis thaliana) are included. Within the framework of our studies we use methods from the fields of genetics, molecular biology, biophysics and bioinformatics.

 

Research Group Bacterial Genetics

The main focus of our work is gene regulation in Gram-positive bacteria by small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) and transcription factors. We use Bacillus subtilis as model organism. On the one hand, we investigate a small trans-encoded sRNA - SR1 - discovered in our group. SR1 is a dual-function sRNA: it acts as base-pairing sRNA in arginine catabolism, but also encodes a peptide that does not only play a role in sugar metabolism, but has a global function in RNA degradation. On the other hand, we explore three type I toxin-antitoxin systems whose antitoxins are cis-encoded sRNAs. In both cases, we are interested in the biological functions of these sRNAs, their molecular mechanisms of action as well as their regulation by transcription factors. We employ a combination of in vitro and in vivo techniques to characterize RNA and DNA-binding proteins.

 

Genetics
Philosophenweg 12
07743 Jena
Phone
+49 3641 9-49550
Fax
+49 3641 9-49552
Postal address:
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Matthias-Schleiden-Institut
Genetik und Bakteriengenetik
Philosophenweg 12
07743 Jena

Bioinformatics

Ernst-Abbe-Str. 2 Ernst-Abbe-Platz 2
©biw

In the Department of Bioinformatics, research is done on various topics of bioinformatics and theoretical systems biology, largely in close cooperation with wet-lab groups. A central topic is the mathematical modelling and computer simulation of metabolic processes. For example, their optimal temporal control in living cells is calculated. A further central topic is the application of game theory to biochemical and microbiological systems. To deal with spatial aspects, agent-based models are developed. Moreover, alternative splicing in fungi, the enumeration of biochemical substances and the optimal flow behaviour of the blood, among others, are studied. Most of these computer-aided studies are conducted in view of medical and biotechnological applications, for example, with reference to the fatty liver disease, the energy metabolism in cancer cells and yield maximization in biotechnological production processes.

In teaching, the department is actively involved by specific courses in the curricula Bioinformatics, Biology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Life Sciences, among others.

Bioinformatics
Ernst-Abbe-Platz 2
07743 Jena
Phone
+46 3641 9-46450
Fax
+49 3641 9-46452
Postal address:
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Matthias-Schleiden-Institut
Bioinformatik
Ernst-Abbe-Platz 2
07743 Jena

Molecular Botany

Am Planetarium ©Susanne Petrick

The structural unit Molecular Botany includes three research groups. For the education of the students, we offer topic specific teaching courses primarily within the Bachelors of Biology, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics, in the Higher School Education Program for Biology and in the Master Molecular Life Sciences.

 Professorship for General Botany

 Our research concerns the molecular mechanism of biological circadian clocks. Circadian (circa = about; diem = day) clocks exist from cyanobacteria to humans and control numerous cellular processes. The endogenous clock is entrained by so called "Zeitgeber". The most important "Zeitgeber" are light-dark as well as temperature cycles. We are especially interested in understanding receptors perceiving light and temperature information. We analyze their functional modes of action to entrain circadian clocks or to regulate other processes such as developmental cycles, photosynthesis or growth rates. We have chosen the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as primary model organism. The unicellular alga has a primitive visual system, the eyespot as well as two flagella for movement and orientation with a light gradient and possesses numerous photoreceptors. Light and nutrients control its sexual cycle. Moreover, we examine the interaction of microalgae with other microorganisms taking freshwater and marine Chlamydomonas spp. As models. We are looking for chemical mediators that influence these interactions as well as for  the resulting signalling cascades.

General Botany
Am Planetarium 1
07743 Jena
Phone
+49 3641 9-49201
Fax
+49 3641 9-49202
Postal address:
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Matthias-Schleiden-Institut
Allgemeine Botanik
Am Planetarium 1
07743 Jena

Professorship for Plant Physiology

Three main topics are investigated at the professorship for plant physiology: a) interaction of plants with microorganisms, b) vascular biology and c) biogenesis of chloroplasts. Besides direct research on these topics, we try to understand how these research fields are connected. Newly identified non-pathogenic root-colonizing fungi mediate stress resistances in plants. The information will be transported systemically to the whole plant via the vascular system. Plastid-derived signals, metabolites and phytohormone precursor play crucial roles in the decision of the plant to invest in either growth or defence/stress responses. Molecular biology techniques, biochemistry, diverse microscopical techniques and methods, genetic studies on model organisms, modern analytic and –omics approaches are used to investigate the physiological, genetic and chemical background of plant stress adaptation and associated developmental processes.

Plant Physiology
Dornburger Str. 159
07743 Jena
Phone
+49 3641 9-49230
Fax
+49 3641 9-49232
Postal address:
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Matthias-Schleiden-Institut
Pflanzenphysiologie
Dornburger Str. 159
07743 Jena

Research Group Molecular Botany

Our research focuses on algal metabolism and the interactions of microalgae with other microorganisms. Available genome sequences from algae are exploited to find hints for yet unknown metabolites, and to identify biosynthetic routes to known compounds. In the laboratory, we are combining genetic strategies with biochemical and analytical methods to elucidate the benefit of specific compounds and enzymes for the algal cell. We hope that our research will provide ecological insights into algal lifestyle and improve our understanding of how algae interact with their environment and other organisms. In addition, the investigation of algal metabolism may lead to the discovery of pharmaceutically or biotechnologically useful compounds.

 

Molecular Botany
Dornburger Str. 159
07743 Jena
Phone
+49 3641 9-49475
Fax
+49 3641 9-49232
Postal address:
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Matthias-Schleiden-Institut
Pflanzenphysiologie
Dornburger Str. 159
07743 Jena

Who was Matthias Jacob Schleiden?

Matthias Jacob Schleiden Matthias Jacob Schleiden (5.4.1804 until 23.6.1881)
©Allgemeine Botanik

The Matthias Schleiden Institute at the University of Jena is named after the biologist Matthias Jacob Schleiden (1804 – 1881). He earned his PhD at Jena University in 1839, was appointed an extraordinary professor here in the subsequent year already and an ordinary professor in 1846. In 1851, he became, in addition, the director of the Botanical Garden. Schleiden was the first to describe cells in living plants and became, together with Theodor Schwann, one of the founders and pioneers of cell biology.

Matthias Schleiden‘s research interests were manifold and not restricted to Botany. He pointed out to Carl Zeiß the relevance of microscopes for biological research and the necessity to improve their optical properties. Thus, he instigated Zeiß to establish, together with the physicist Ernst Abbe, optical workshops in Jena. In this way, the successful cooperation between the university and local industry in Jena started.

Molecular Botany
Dornburger Str. 159
07743 Jena
Phone
+49 3641 9-49475
Fax
+49 3641 9-49232
Postal address:
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Matthias-Schleiden-Institut
Molekulare Botanik
Dornburger Str. 159
07743 Jena
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