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. Molinari PE, Krapp AR, Weiner A, Beyer HM, Kondadi AK, Blomeier T, Lopez M, Bustos-Sanmamed P, Tevere E, Weber W, Reichert AS, Calcaterra NB, Beller M, Carrillo N*, Zurbriggen MD* (2023) NERNST: a genetically-encoded ratiometric non-destructive sensing tool to estimate NADP(H) redox status in bacterial, plant and animal systems. Nat Commun 14(1):3277. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-38739-4.
  2. Jang J, Tang K, Youn J, McDonald S, Beyer HM, Zurbriggen MD*, Uppalapati M*, Woolley GA* (2023) Engineering of bidirectional, cyanobacteriochrome-based light-inducible dimers (BICYCL)s. Nat Methods 20(3):432-441. doi: 10.1038/s41592-023-01764-8.
  3. Mor E, Pernisova M, Minne M, Cerutti G, Ripper D, Nolf J, Andres J, Ragni L, Zurbriggen MD*, De Rybel B*, Vernoux T* (2022) bHLH heterodimer complex variations regulate cell proliferation activity in the meristems of Arabidopsis thaliana. iScience 25(11):105364. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.105364.
  4. Costigliolo Rojas C, Bianchimano L, Oh J, Romero Montepaone S, Tarkowska D, Minguet EG, Schon J, Garcia Hourquet M, Flugel T, Blazquez MA, Choi G, Strnad M, Mora-Garcia S, Alabadi D, Zurbriggen MD, Casal JJ (2022) Organ-specific COP1 control of BES1 stability adjusts plant growth patterns under shade or warmth. Dev Cell 57(16):2009-2025 e2006. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2022.07.003.
  5. Urquiza-Garcia U, Zurbriggen MD (2021) Biofortifying green optogenetics. Nat Plants 7(2):104-105. doi: 10.1038/s41477-021-00860-x.
  6. Christie JM*, Zurbriggen MD* (2021) Optogenetics in plants. New Phytol 229(6):3108-3115. doi: 10.1111/nph.17008.
  7. Ochoa-Fernandez R, Abel NB, Wieland FG, Schlegel J, Koch LA, Miller JB, Engesser R, Giuriani G, Brandl SM, Timmer J, Weber W, Ott T, Simon R, Zurbriggen MD (2020) Optogenetic control of gene expression in plants in the presence of ambient white light. Nat Methods 17(7):717-725. doi: 10.1038/s41592-020-0868-y.
  8. Roell MS, Zurbriggen MD (2020) The impact of synthetic biology for future agriculture and nutrition. Curr Opin Biotechnol 61:102-109. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2019.10.004.
  9. Golonka D, Fischbach P, Jena SG, Kleeberg JRW, Essen LO, Toettcher JE, Zurbriggen MD*, Möglich A* (2019) Deconstructing and repurposing the light-regulated interplay between Arabidopsis phytochromes and interacting factors. Commun Biol 2:448. doi: 10.1038/s42003-019-0687-9.
  10. Samodelov SL, Beyer HM, Guo X, Augustin M, Jia KP, Baz L, Ebenhöh O, Beyer P, Weber W, Al-Babili S, Zurbriggen MD (2016) StrigoQuant: A genetically encoded biosensor for quantifying strigolactone activity and specificity. Sci Adv 2(11):e1601266. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1601266.

*Corresponding authors



Prof. Dr. Matias Zurbriggen
CEPLAS Matias Zurbriggen

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Institute of Synthetic Biology
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf