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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2021/22 Prof. Dr. Ralf Reski

Prof. Dr. Ralf Reski

University of Freiburg
Internal Senior Fellow
Ocober 2013 - September 2015

Phone +49 761-203 6969


Ralf Reski studied Biology, Chemistry and Pedagogy in Giessen and Hamburg. In 1990 he was awarded his doctorate in Genetics and became Assistant Professor in Cell Biology. In 1994 he received his Habilitation in General Botany. From 1996 until 1999 Reski was a Heisenberg-Fellow of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). After offers from within Germany and abroad he became Distinguished Professor in Freiburg and headed the newly established Department of Plant Biotechnology. In 1999 he was co-founder of the company greenovation Biotech GmbH. Reski is Founding PI of the Spemann Graduate School of Biology and Medicine (SGBM), the Centre for Biological Signalling Studies (BIOSS) and the Freiburg Initiative for Systems Biology (FRISYS). Since 2004 he is affiliated Professor at the Ecole supérieur de Biotechnologie Strasbourg (ESBS). Ralf Reski has served on several advisory boards; e.g. from 2007 until 2010 as a member of the Think Tank on Innovation Policy (Innovationsrat) headed by Günther Oettinger, then State Premier of Baden-Württemberg and now European Commissioner. Since 2010 Reski serves as elected Senator and Spokesperson of the Academic Senate. In 2011 he became FRIAS Senior Fellow, was co-founder of the Trinational Institute for Plant Research (TIP) and was awarded a life-time membership in the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (HAW). With more than 180 scientific publications Ralf Reski has helped to establish the moss Physcomitrella patens as a flagship model organism on a world-wide scale.


Selected Publications

  • Zimmer, A.D., D. Lang, K. Buchta, S. Rombauts, T. Nishiyama, M. Hasebe, Y. van de Peer, S.A. Rensing, R. Reski (2013): Reannotation and extended community resources of the non-seed plant Physcomitrella patens provide insights into the evolution of plant gene structures and functions. BMC Genomics 14, 498.
  • Khraiwesh, B., M.A. Arif, G.I. Seumel, S. Ossowski, D. Weigel, R. Reski, W. Frank (2010): Transcriptional control of gene expression by microRNAs. Cell 140, 111-122.
  • Mosquna, A., A. Katz, E.L. Decker, S.A. Rensing, R. Reski, N. Ohad (2009): Regulation of stem cell maintenance by the Polycomb protein FIE has been conserved during land plant evolution. Development 136, 2433-2444.
  • Lang, D., A.D. Zimmer, S.A. Rensing, R. Reski (2008): Exploring plant biodiversity: the Physcomitrella genome and beyond. Trends in Plant Science 13, 542-549.
  • Rensing, S.A., D. Lang, A. Zimmer, A. Terry, A. Salamov, H. Shapiro, T. Nishiyama, P.-F. Perroud, E. Lindquist, Y. Kamisugi, T. Tanahash, K. Sakakibara, T. Fujita, K. Oishi, T. Shin-I, Y. Kuroki, A. Toyoda, Y. Suzuki, S.-i. Hashimoto, K. Yamaguchi, S. Sugano, Y. Kohara, A. Fujiyama, N. Ashton, A. Anterola, S. Aoki, W.B. Barbazuk, E. Barker, J. Bennetzen, R. Blankenship, S.H. Cho, S. Dutcher, M. Estelle, J.A. Fawcett, H. Gundlach, K. Hanada, A. Heyl, K.A. Hicks, J. Hughes, M. Lohr, K. Mayer, A. Melkozernov, T. Murata, D. Nelson, B. Pils, M. Prigge, B. Reiss, T. Renner, S. Rombauts, P. Rushton, A. Sanderfoot, G. Schween, S.-H. Shiu, K. Stueber, F.L. Theodoulou, H. Tu, Y. Van de Peer, P.J. Verrier, E. Waters, A. Wood, L. Yang, D. Cove, A.C. Cuming, M. Hasebe, S. Lucas, B.D. Mishler, R. Reski, I. Grigoriev, R.S. Quatrano, J.L. Boore (2008): The Physcomitrella genome reveals evolutionary insights into the conquest of land by plants. Science 319, 64-69.


FRIAS Research Project

METABEVO: Evolution of the plant phenolic metabolism: a search for new strategies to improve biofuel production.

The plant phenolic metabolism leads to the synthesis of biopolymers such as lignin, of antioxidants, UV-screens and compounds that are suspected to regulate plant growth. High lignin content and cross-linking in the cell walls of higher plants is a main limitation to the efficient use of the plant biomass for energy production. METABEVO proposes to reveal the structure and role of the phenolic metabolism in the moss Physcomitrella patens, an ancestral plant resistant to extreme environmental conditions and allowing targeted gene engineering that does not produce a complex lignin biopolymer, in order to propose new strategies to improve biofuel production and to optimize plant adaptation to a more challenging climate environment. This work is expected to reveal essential aspects of plant evolution upon transition from water to land and to lead to novel strategies for biofuel production.