Prof. Dr. Matias Zurbriggen

Research focus

Our research perspective is to apply synthetic biology approaches to control and understand eukaryotic signalling processes and regulatory networks in a quantitative and spatiotemporally resolved manner. To this aim I follow an interdisciplinary approach at the interface of engineering and life sciences, focusing on synthetic signalling networks and metabolic pathways, biological sensors, and chemical and optical switches. 

The ten most important publications

  1. Ochoa-Fernandez R, Abel NB, Wieland F-G, Schlegel J, Koch L-A, Miller JB, Engesser R, Giuriani G, Brandl SM, Timmer J, Weber W, Ott T, Simon R and Zurbriggen MD “Optogenetic control of gene expression in plants in the presence of ambient white light”. Nature Methods (2020) 17:717-725 DOI: 10.1038/s41592-020-0868-y
  2. Christie JM* and Zurbriggen MD* “Optogenetics in plants” New Phytologist (2020) DOI: 10.1111/nph.17008 *Corresponding authors
  3. Blanco-Touriñan N, Legris M, Minguet EG, Costigliolo-Rojas C, Nohales MA, Iniesto E, Garcia-Leon M, Pacin M, Heucken N, Blomeier T, Locascio A, Cerny M, Esteve-Bruna D, Diez-Diaz M, Brzobohaty B, Frerigmann H, Zurbriggen MD, Kay SA, Rubio V, Blazquez MA, Casal JJ and Alabadi D “COP1 destabilizes DELLA proteins in Arabidopsis” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) USA (2020) 117(24):13792-13799 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1907969117
  4. Niemeyer M, Moreno Castillo E, Ihling CH, Iacobucci C, Wilde V, Hellmuth A, Hoehenwarter W, Samodelov SL, Zurbriggen MD, Kastritis PL, Sinz A and Calderon-Villalobos LIA “Flexibility of intrinsically disordered degrons in AUX/IAA proteins reinforces auxin co-receptor assemblies” Nature Communications (2020) 11:2277 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16147-2
  5. Golonka D, Fischbach P, Jena SG, Kleeberg JRW, Essen L-O, Toettcher JE and Zurbriggen MD*/Möglich A* “Deconstructing an repurposing light-regulated protein:protein interactions of plant phytochromes” Communications Biology (2019), 2:448 DOI: 10.1038/s42003-019-0687-9 *Corresponding authors
  6. Chatelle C, Ochoa-Fernandez R, Engesser R, Schneider N, Beyer HM, Jones A, Timmer J, Zurbriggen MD*/Weber W* "A green light-responsive system for the control of transgene expression in mammalian and plant cells" ACS Synthetic Biology (2018) 7(5):1349-1358. DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.7b00450 *Corresponding authors
  7. Samodelov SL and Zurbriggen MD “Quantitatively understanding plant signalling: novel theoretical-experimental approaches” Trends in Plant Science (2017) 22(8) DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2017.06.006
  8. Samodelov SL, Beyer HM, Guo X, Augustin M, Jia K-P, Baz L, Ebenhöh O, Beyer P, Weber W, Al-Babili S and Zurbriggen MD “StrigoQuant: a genetically encoded biosensor for quantifying strigolactone activity and specificity” Science Advances(2016) 2:e1601266 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601266
  9. Beyer HM, Juillot S, Herbst K, Samodelov SL, Müller K, Schamel WW, Römer W, Schäfer E, Nagy F, Strähle U, Weber W and Zurbriggen MD, "Red light-regulated reversible nuclear localization of proteins in mammalian cells and zebra fish" ACS Synthetic Biology (2015) 4(7) DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.5b00004 Cover Article Issue July 2015
  10. Müller K, Zurbriggen MD and Weber W, "Control of gene expression using a red/far-red light-responsive bi-stable toggle switch" Nature Protocols (2014) 9(3), 622-632. DOI: 10.1038/nprot.2014.038


Prof. Dr. Matias Zurbriggen
CEPLAS Matias Zurbriggen


+49 2118115015

Institute of Synthetic Biology
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

Universitätsstraße 1

40225 Düsseldorf
Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich