LOEWE Funding for MPI Research

New LOEWE focus "Tree-M" investigates the leaf microbiome of trees

July 01, 2022

The Max Planck Institute, together with Philipps University, is once again successful in the current round of the Hessian research funding program LOEWE: no less than four groups are represented in the funded LOEWE focus TreeM.

Forests are inhabited by billions of microorganisms which are essential for the nutrient bioavailability in the ecosystem and for the conversion and storage ofgreenhouse gases. The research project “Tree-M” brings the leaf surfaces of trees into focus.

On the example of the English oak (Quercus robur), the team wants to investigate the interactions between constitution and metabolic activities of the bacterial leaf microbiome and the environment. "We want to understand which tree-microbiome interactions influence the tree's ability to be adaptive and resilient, and how these interactions are affected by climate change. Our results will inform the development of sustainable conservation strategies to maintain resilient forests in Central Europe," says Anke Becker, executive director of the SYNMIKRO Center for Synthetic Microbiology and spokesperson for the project.

"I am very happy about the renewed success in LOEWE funding. It again demonstrates the excellence of the University of Marburg and its non-university partners at Marburg in the subject of microorganisms and their interaction and in the general field of epidemic preparedness," says Prof. Dr. Gert Bange, Vice President for Research at Philipps-Universität Marburg.

The LOEWE priority Tree-M will be carried out under the scientific coordination of Prof. Dr. Anke Becker. "Tree-M – Mechanisms of resilience and environmental impact of the leaf microbiome of trees" will be funded from 2023 to 2026 with a total funding of 4.78 million euros. Project partners in Tree-M are Philipps-Universität Marburg and the Justus-Liebig Universität Gießen. At the Max Planck Institute Research Groups, the research groups of Dr. Johannes Rebelein, Prof. Helge Bode, Prof. Tobias Erb and the Core Facility "Metabolomics" headed by Dr. Nicole Paczia are involved.

The Hessian excellence program LOEWE, launched in 2008, supports outstanding research projects, highly innovative research ideas and excellent scientists in five funding lines. Since 2008, 15 LOEWE centers, 67 LOEWE focal points, and 349 LOEWE-SME collaborative projects have already been selected for funding. Since then, two researchers have accepted the call for a LOEWE Start Professorship, and five researchers have been appointed to LOEWE Top Professorships. In total, the state of Hesse has already provided almost 990 million euros for the LOEWE program. Additionally, the LOEWE centers and prioritiy programs have raised more than 1.17 billion euros in third-party funding from the first to the twelfth funding rounds up until and including 2020, as well as around 84 million euros in funds from companies. For more information on LOEWE, visit loewe.hessen.de.

(Source: Pressemeldung der Philipps-Universität Marburg, in German language)

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