Plant molecular biology
In order to absorb nutrients and carry them through the membranes in their cells, plants use transport proteins. Understanding them is one of the keys to increasing yields and finding new fertilisers. One of the leading experts in this area is the plant biologist, Wolf B. Frommer. He investigates different transport mechanisms, such as the so-called SWEET proteins, which channel glucose through the membranes. This mechanism operates very similarly in animal and human cells, too. Frommer’s work is thus also relevant to medical applications such as understanding metabolic processes in cancer cells. Together with non-university partners in Jülich and Cologne, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf would like to apply Frommer’s expertise to continue developing the CEPLAS Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences into a cutting-edge research location for molecular botany.
Nominating University: Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in combination with the Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne
Prof. Dr. Wolf B. Frommer
born in Germany in 1958, is a Professor in the Department of Plant Biology at Stanford University, USA, where he was also the Director of the Carnegie Institution for Science until the beginning of 2016. After completing his doctorate at the University of Cologne, he moved to Freie Universität Berlin where he took his Habilitation in 1994. As early as 1992, he became a group leader at the Institute of Gene Biology Research (now knows as Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Golm, Potsdam), Berlin, and from 1992, an Assistant Professor. In 1996, he was appointed to a Full Professorship in Plant Physiology at the University of Tübingen where he also became the Director of the Centre for Plant Molecular Biology in 1997. In 2003, he moved to Stanford University, USA. Amongst others, Frommer received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in 1998 and the Körber European Science Prize in 2001. He has been a member of the Leopoldina - German National Academy of Sciences since 2015. In April 2017 he took up his position as a Humboldt Professor at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.