Work group Prof. Dr. Andrea Polle

Wood is an important renewable resource that is used as an energy source, as a raw material for wood products (pulp, paper, fibers, particle plates) and as a feedstock for chemicals (cellulose, lignin, and other products). The composition and properties of wood show fluctuations because wood is a biological product whose function is the transport of water and nutrient. Its structures and chemistry respond to environmental changes such as drought, light or nutrient availability to optimize its biological functions. Here, our goal is to understand the genetic basis of environmental adaptation and its consequences for micro-structural changes at the micro- and nano-scales.
In this PhD project, experimental treatments (stress, nutrients or field sampling) and genetic engineering will be used to modify the composition of the cell wall of the living plant. The consequences for wood anatomy in combination with high spatial resolution of the chemical components of cell walls will be analyzed. We are therefore seeking a motivated candidate with a strong background in molecular biology and the desire to conduct a project with an applied focus.