CEPLAS – Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences

from complex traits towards synthetic modules

Plants are the basis of all human life; they provide food and feed, medicine and drugs, and raw materials for clothing, housing and energy production. However, global changes are threatening the role of crop plants as the foundation of human civilization. We therefore need innovative strategies for crop improvement to enhance crop productivity and minimize resource requirements.

The Cluster of Excellence CEPLAS therefore investigates how plants adapt to changing environmental conditions, how they are able to colonize almost every habitat on earth, and how these findings can be used for agriculture. The plant genome is the key to understanding this adaptability. Genes control plant growth and the conversion of light energy into chemical energy during photosynthesis. Microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria also play an important role because they can influence plant growth both positively and negatively. Therefore, it is important to understand as many factors as possible that are involved in the plant adaption to changing conditions, and thus to ensure the future supply with plant based-raw materials for food, feed and energy.

Mission of the cluster

CEPLAS pursues the aim to establish a sustainable, resource-efficient plant production. Our mission is to decode different complex plant traits, which have an important impact on the growth, yield and use of resources. By understanding the molecular and genetic basis of these plant traits, we aim to create the foundation for the sustainable cultivation of food, feed and energy crops.

In addition, CEPLAS has established first-class training and study programmes for students, doctoral and postdoctoral researchers to train the future generation of plant scientists and bioinformaticians. 

The Cluster of Excellence CEPLAS is a joint initiative of the Heinrich Heine University, the University of Cologne, of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research Cologne and the Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich