Based on long lasting, proven experience complemented by the integration of new expertise, the core scientific competencies of CEPLAS are seen in:
- Plant Development: Genetic and molecular basis of annual/perennial life cycles; mechanisms mediating annual/perennial life switches; regulatory networks controlling organ development (root, leaf, tillering, flowering); ecological and agricultural advantages of traits related to perennialism.
- Photosynthesis: Genetic, molecular and physiological basis of processes involved in the evolutionary development of C4 plants from C3 plants; genetic, molecular, cellular and metabolic components determining the efficiency of converting light energy into chemical energy.
- Plant-Microbe Interactions: Genetic and molecular characterization of the plant microflora; biotic and abiotic factors controlling the composition and activities of microbial communities associated with roots and leaves; molecular and metabolic processes determining the type and outcome of plant-microbe interactions.
- Metabolic Plasticity: Plant secondary metabolites and biosynthetic pathways mediating the communication between plants and microbial endophytes; regulatory modules controlling the biosynthesis of these metabolites.
- Theoretical and Quantitative Biology: Mathematical description and simulation of molecular and metabolic processes determining plant life and performance.
- Synthetic Biology: Models and molecular modules for the engineering of plants with novel features, in particular with respect to plant development, photosynthesis and plant-microbe interactions.