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Prof. Wilhelm Gruissem  
Prof. Wilhelm Gruissem

Welcome to the Gruissem laboratory website at the Institute of Plant Sciences in Zurich. We are members of the ETH Zurich Department of Biology, the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center, and the Life Science Zurich Graduate School.

Researchers in our laboratory tackle questions in basic and applied areas of plant science. One central question relates to the regulation of plant development through integration of cell cycle control and chromatin remodeling. We seek to unravel this process by dissecting the functions of the Retinoblastoma-related (RBR) protein and associated chromatin remodeling complexes such as Polycomb Group (PcG) and chromatin assembly factor (CAF1), using Arabidopsis as a model organism.

Using functional genomics tools and systems biology approaches we also explore the dynamics of gene regulation at different levels. To facilitate gene network discovery we are developing novel bioinformatics tools such as Genevestigator®, which allows researchers to mine large transcriptome databases. Similarly, we are using proteomics to unravel the plant proteome and to detect dynamic protein changes during development. Computational tools and collaborations with colleagues from other disciplines allow us to define the complexity of molecular interactions. We have chosen isoprenoid biosynthesis as an example to understand how pathway gene regulation together with spatial and temporal control of enzyme activities and metabolite allocation are integrated into the complex metabolic network.

Advances in basic research often provide the principles for improving plant function and performance. We recognize the importance of applying our biotechnology skills to provide solutions in major staple crops. Cassava, the staple crop of 600 Million people in developing countries, suffers from severe virus attacks. Cassava and rice, which together feed more than half of the human population, lack high quality proteins and mineral nutrients. Using gene technology tools we are developing improved varieties that contribute to food security and improved nutrition.

In the Gruissem laboratory, our Senior Research Associates Dr. Herve Vanderschuren, Dr. Katja Baerenfaller and Dr. Navreet Kaur Bhullar lead projects in the above described basic and applied research areas. We work with an excellent and dedicated team of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, as well as technical and administrative support staff.

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