Plant Growth

Plant Growth in a Changing Environment

This project deals with the question of how a system of chemical and mechanical processes regulates plant growth. Innovative experiments and their computer simulation play an important part in this process.

Human society is entirely dependent on photosynthetic organisms as the primary producers of food, feed, fiber and fuel. Moreover, photosynthetic organisms, which comprise over 99% of our planet's biomass, also have a major impact on the global climate. Understanding how plants grow and how this growth is affected by the environment is therefore a subject of vital importance.

The general aims of the RTD project "Plant Growth in a Changing Environment" are to:

  • Study plant growth quantitatively at the cellular, tissue and entire plant levels;
  • Enhance our mechanistic understanding of growth-environment interactions;
  • Explore new approaches to sustainable agriculture in a changing climate;
  • Promote synergy between plant molecular biology, mathematics, physics and engineering;
  • Train a new generation of "systems biologists" who are involved in inter-disciplinary projects and can readily cross boundaries between fields by exposing them to plant molecular biology, mathematics, physics and engineering.
Principal Investigator Prof. Cris Kuhlemeier, Institute of Plant Science, University of Bern
Involved Institutions University of Bern, University of Zurich, ETH Zurich, University of Fribourg, University of Basel, University of Geneva, University of Lausanne, EPF Lausanne, University of Neuchâtel, Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics
Number of Research Groups 12
Project Duration Sept. 2008 - Dec. 2012
Approved Funds CHF 7.021 million

Updated September 2012 


Prof. Cris Kuhlemeier
Institute of Plant Sciences
University of Bern
Altenbergrain 21
CH - 3013 Bern
phone +41 31 631 49 13