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22.01.2016 10:44 Von: Sarah Danes

Marja Timmermans joins the IMPRS faculty

miRNAs as mobile signals in development

The IMPRS is delighted to announce that Prof. Marja Timmermans is joining the faculty of our school. Prof Timmermans joined the Center for Plant Molecular Biology (ZMBP) at Tübingen University as an Alexander von Humboldt Professor in 2015. Prior to that, Timmermans, a Dutch national, was a full professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.


Marja Timmermans’ group investigates the properties and function of mobile small RNAs in development and has already delivered several breakthroughs in this field – see, for example Chitwood et al, 20091.  Here in Tübingen, the group will further investigate questions such as: how do small RNAs move, how is their mobility regulated, what are the distinguishing patterning properties of mobile small RNAs, and how might opposing signal gradients interact to achieve the remarkable precision and robustness of developmental programs? A combination of classical genetics, quantitative imaging and theoretical approaches is used to address these questions in model plants, such as Arabidopsis, maize and moss.  


Prof Timmermans also aims to build bridges between cutting-edge basic and applied research and contribute to ZMBP’s specialist area of maize research.


The Humboldt Professorship is awarded for five years and comes with up to €5m in funding. The scheme, run by the Humboldt Foundation and financed by the German research ministry, aims to attract leading scientists and academics to German universities. Read more about Prof Timmermans' appointment here.


1 Chitwood DH, Nogueira FTS, Howell M, Montgomery TA, Carrington JC, and Timmermans MCP (2009). Pattern formation via small RNA mobility. Genes & Dev. 23: 549-554. 10.1101/gad.1770009