THE USADEL LAB

 Cell walls, metabolism and bioinformatics

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The Usadel lab is located at the Institute of Botany and Molecular Genetics at RWTH Aachen University and the Institute of Bio- and Geosciences 2 at Jülich Research Center. The group focuses on important questions in plant science like how do plants react to different sugar levels, in which ways do plants integrate carbon into their cell walls, and how can these walls be degraded and utilized. To answer these questions, the group combines classic biochemical and molecular research with novel bioinformatics tools and “omics” technologies.

To elucidate the mechanisms and pathways of cell wall biosynthesis, the group employs methods to measure cell wall precursors like nucleotide sugars and has already well established platforms for in depth cell wall characterization. Combinations of theoretical and experimental research are used to identify and validate novel candidate genes involved in plant biosynthetic pathways. Next generation sequencing is used to study whole genomes and transcriptomes of various economically relevant plant species. The resulting large amounts of data have to be processed and analyzed. Therefore, the group develops algorithms, tools, and implements machine learning to investigate big data. Finally, to facilitate public data access, the group designs and hosts databases with user friendly interfaces.

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