Six questions to Björn Usadel


Question 1

What fascinates you most about natural sciences?

That we can learn, understand and discover things. 

Question 2

What is your favorite plant and why?

Solanum elaeagnifolium, an invasive species I first "discovered" on vacation. Not only does it look beautiful, but it is also drought resistant and can be crossed with eggplants. This fits perfectly into my work and whenever I see this plant I think of holidays. The same goes for Cuscuta, but Cuscuta is not a beautiful plant...

Question 3

Which incident from your life as a researcher has remained in your memory the most?

That the scientific goals and questions of young doctoral students have lead to some results which were much better than expected.



You have been Head of the Institute of Biological Data Science at the HHU since April 1. How did you experience the first weeks, especially under the special conditions of the Corona pandemic? What is the focus of your work?

I have experienced a warm welcome and help from my colleagues and friends at the HHU. Corona makes a lot of things difficult, we work mostly theoretically, but for the establishment of two new institutes there are certain challenges without personal interaction. After all, I also have an almost five-year-old daughter who misses her friends and can't go to daycare.

Question 4

What advice would you give to young scientists?

If you experience setbacks, see this as a welcome learning experience.

Question 5

If you had the choice, which research question would you like to be able to answer?

How can we use methods of data science to understand plants - since I already do – how to improve neuroprosthetics.

Question 6

What's your favorite thing to do after work?

Learning new things, e.g. languages or new concepts in computer science or mathematics, which are not in my research area. Or teaching my daughter technical things.



Björn Usadel


Head of the Institute Biological Data Science, HHU & Head of the Institute of Bioinformatics IBG4, Forschungszentrum Jülich

In CEPLAS since:


Place of birth:

Herdecke, NRW