The IMPRS 'Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth' (IMPRS-PMPG) is a joint initiative of the University of Potsdam and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, located in Potsdam near Berlin, Germany. The IMPRS-PMPG has been running since 2007. Since 2016, the IMPRS-PMPG integrates the Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Programme (MelPoPP), a joint graduate research programme with the University of Melbourne, Australia. We are accepting talented graduate students into both the IMPRS-PMPG and MelPoPP at regular intervals, via joint application and interview procedures.
Research in modern plant science is at the core of IMPRS-PMPG and MelPoPP. A detailed understanding of plant growth, arguably, represents one of the greatest challenges in plant physiology. It also has tremendous societal and economic implications. Biomass acquisition is a highly complex process that is influenced by an enormous diversity of endogenous and exogenous factors, including macronutrient availability, uptake, distribution and storage, the activities of the bioenergetics pathways (photosynthesis and respiration) and numerous abiotic factors, such as light, temperature and water availability and their impact on cellular growth. These interact with developmental aspects of growth, like pattern formation, cell division rates, cell expansion and organ development. Plant growth, seen from a physiological point of view as resource (carbon, nutrients) acquisition and its conversion into plant biomass, is the main focus of our research school.
To study the relationship between primary metabolism and growth, we are following a systems-oriented approach, using Arabidopsis thaliana and other model plants. Our research combines cutting-edge analytical techniques, molecular phenotyping (-omics) technologies and physiology with bioinformatics and modelling approaches. Our graduate students conduct their research projects under the supervision of our faculty members, within their groups and departments. Some doctoral students within IMPRS-PMPG pursue a MelPoPP joint research project in collaboration with professors and group leaders at the University of Melbourne, Australia and spend time in Potsdam and Melbourne.