News Archive

December 3, 2012
Peter Biedermann receives Dr. Lutz Zwillenberg Prize
The University of Bern, Switzerland, awarded Peter Biedermann, postdoc in the Insect Symbiosis Group, the Dr. Lutz Zwillenberg Prize for his outstanding dissertation on the "Evolution of Cooperation in Ambrosia Beetles". The award remembers biologist Dr. Lutz O. Zwillenberg who died in December 2011.

November 30, 2012
Jonathan Gershenzon honored as AAAS Fellow
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has elected Jonathan Gershenzon as an AAAS Fellow in the section of Biological Sciences. With this honor, the AAAS acknowledges his distinguished contributions to knowledge of the composition, ecological role and evolution of  plant defense compounds. The AAAS is the world's largest scientific society. It was founded in Pennsylvania in 1848. Since 1880, AAAS has been publishing the the journal Science. 

November 5, 2012
Christelle Robert received Award for Sustainable Development
Christelle Robert from the Department of Biochemistry, member of the Root-Herbivore Interactions Group, received the 2012 Sustainable Development Award from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. This prize recognizes her outstanding PhD thesis on "The key to success: Host plant adaptations in the root herbivore Diabrotica virgifera virgifera" (supervisor: Prof. Ted Turlings; co-supervisor: Matthias Erb; project collaborator: Tobias Köllner).

October 15, 2012
Bill S. Hansson elected member of the Academia Europaea
Bill S. Hansson, director of the Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology and currently managing director of the MPI-CE, was elected member of the Academia Europaea. This European scientific academy was founded in 1988 by scientists from the UK, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands as a pan-European body that could express the opinions and ideas of scientists from across Europe. The academy has more than 2000 members, including over 40 Nobel Laureates.

September 28, 2012
David G. Heckel on insecticide resistance 50 years after Silent Spring
(Science 337 no. 6102, Sept. 28, 2012)
50 years after Rachel Carson published her famous book Silent Spring, which marked the birth of the environmental movement, David G. Heckel provides an overview on the current state of resistances pest insects have developed against insecticides (SCIENCE, Vol. 337, 1621-1624, DOI: 10.1126/science.1226994).

June 25, 2012
Poster prize for Dorothea Meldau at New Phytologist Symposium in Rhodes
Dorothea Meldau, Department of Molecular Ecology, received the runners-up poster prize during the 28th New Phytologist Symposium "Functions and ecology of the plant microbiome" in Rhodes, Greece, May 18-21, 2012. Her poster was entitled: "The smelly road - how Bacillus sp. B55 promotes plant growth."

April 19, 2012
Royal Entomological Society (RES) Journal Award for Yannick Pauchet
For his paper "Pyrosequencing the Manduca sexta larval midgut transcriptome: messages for digestion, detoxification and defence" (2010, Insect Molecular Biology, 19(1), pp. 61-75., co-authored with P. Wilkinson, H. Vogel, D. Nelson, S. Reynolds, D.G. Heckel, and R. H. ffrench-Constant), Yannick Pauchet receives the Best Paper Award for the best manuscript published in the RES journal  Insect Molecular Biology during 2010/2011.



April 19, 2012
MPI for Chemical Ecology founding member of the Jena Alliance for Integration
The founding ceremony of the Jena Alliance for Integration (Jenaer Integrationsbündnis) was held on April 19, 2012, in the old town hall in Jena. The goal of the alliance is supporting and organizing the integration of migrants in Jena in a sustainable, collaborative, and long-term effort. As a founding member, the MPI obliged to participate in this alliance and will continue its commitment for a cosmopolitan and tolerant Jena. 

February 21, 2012
Katrin Friedemann
and Michael Thoma received the IMPRS Presentation Awards 2012
Michael Thoma (Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology, MPI-CE) was awarded the prize for the best talk at the 11th Symposium of the International Max Planck Research School "The Exploration of Ecological Interactions with Molecular and Chemical Techniques". The topic of his talk was "A certain shade of green – the role of adaptation in Drosophila olfaction".
Katrin Friedemann (Institute of Systematic Zoology & Evolutionary Biology, Friedrich Schiller University) received the award for the best poster entitled "Evolution of Attachment Structures in Acercaria".


November 21, 2011
Bill Hansson Elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society
Prof. Bill S. Hansson was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society (RES). Fellows of the Society, which was founded in 1833 as the Entomological Society of London, have made substantial contributions to entomology, through publications and other evidence of achievement. Among the most eminent past fellows of the society were Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.

October 14, 2011
Catarina Henke receives Wolfgang Kessler Research Prize
IMPRS student Catarina Henke (Institute for Microbiology, Friedrich-Schiller Universität Jena) received the Wolfgang Kessler Research Prize for Agricultural and Food Sciences of the German-Hungarian Society for her diploma thesis on Evidence for Wolbachia in feminoid leafhoppers (Eupteryx spp.) on medical and spice plants (Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn). This year the prize, endowed with 1000 Euros, was awarded at the Corvinus University in Budapest, Hungary, for an outstanding thesis in the area of phytomedicine. 


September 23, 2011
Best Paper Prize for Jyothilakshmi Vadassery
IMPRS graduate Jyothilakshmi Vadassery was awarded the best paper prize for one of three publications that emerged from a Diploma, Master or PhD project by the Wilhelm-Pfeffer-Stiftung. The prize for the publication produced during her PhD was awarded at the Annual Conference of the German Botanical Society 2011 in Berlin and is endowed with 500 Euros. Jyothilakshmi Vadassery is currently a Postdoc in Axel Mithöfer’s group (Department of Bioorganic Chemistry) and studies the functional roles of calcium signaling genes activated by herbivory.

January 4, 2011
Bill Hansson Elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm has elected Prof. Bill S. Hansson as a member of the class for biosciences. The society, which also awards the Nobel Prizes each year, was founded in 1739 as an independent non-governmental scientific society and has currently about 400 members. World-famous botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), the father of modern taxonomy and considered by many as one of the fathers of modern ecology, was one of its founders. 

November 23, 2010
Ian Baldwin talks at Dresden Forum on Science & Society 
Ian Baldwin, Director of the Department of Molecular Ecology at MPI-CE, will give a public lecture about "Ecology's future mission: salvaging books from the burning library".
Location: Auditorium, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Pfotenhauerstr. 108, 01307 Dresden
Time: Thursday, December 16, 2010, 4:00 p.m.



September 30, 2010
MPI outstanding apprenticing company
The Free State of Thuringia honored the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology as "Successful Apprenticing Company 2010". This prize was awarded to apprentice gardener Vanessa Nawrocki, who passed her exams with distinction and the best results in Thuringia, and her supervisor Andreas Weber.

June 17, 2010
Paulina Dabrowska received Otto Hahn Medal 
Paulina Dabrowska, one of the first fellows of the International Max Planck Research School in Jena, was awarded the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society this year. The award ceremony took place on June 16, 2010, during the  annual meeting of the society in Hannover. The award recognizes her excellent doctoral thesis on the role of oxylipin plant hormones in plant-insect interactions.

April 9, 2010
Bill Hansson Elected Member of the Saxonian Academy of Sciences
The Saxonian Academy of Sciences in Leipzig has elected Prof. Bill S. Hansson a full member of its Mathematical-Natural Sciences Class. The inauguration ceremony and the welcome of the new academy members in this venerable association of scholars in central Germany took place during the spring meeting on April 9, 2010, in the festival room of the old town hall in Leipzig.

October 8, 2009
Janine Hofmann reiceived BIOTECHNICA Award
Janine Hofmann , PhD student in the Emmy Noether Group „Chemical Ecology of Actinomycetes“  (Dieter Spiteller), was awarded the  BIOTECHNICA-Studienpreis 2009 (2nd Prize) for her Diploma thesis "Characterization of  3-methylarginine biosynthesis cluster of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae 22d/93", which was co-supervised by Dieter Spiteller. The prize is announced by the Verband Biologie, Biowissenschaften und Biomedizin (VBIO e. V.) and sponsored by the Biotechnology company Roche.

August 21, 2009
Ian T. Baldwin presented Tansley Lecture

Ian T. Baldwin presented the Tansley Lecture at the Annual Meeting of the British Ecological Society , September 8-10, 2009, in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK. The lecture is named after the British plant ecologist and founder of the society Sir Arthur G. Tansley. The topic of the lecture is ‘Using Transformed Native Plants to study Ecological Interactions’. An eminent ecologist is chosen every two years by the council to address the society.


June 17, 2009
Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society awarded to  Shree Pandey

Shree Prakash Pandey was awarded the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society for one of the best dissertations in 2008. The topic of his PhD project in the Department of Molecular Ecology (Ian T. Baldwin) was "The role of small RNAs in regulating stress-induced responses in Nicotiana attenuata". Dr. Pandey, who was also awarded the Beutenberg Campus Prize  in April 2009,  is currently doing research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, MA, USA.


March 25, 2009
Letterstedt Prize for Bill S. Hansson

Bill S. Hansson, director of the Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology,  will be awarded the Letterstedt Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for excellent research in the area of "insect olfactory function and its significance for odor-guided behavior including the elucidation of molecular transduction mechanisms underlying odor perception."


June 25, 2008
Jianqiang Wu and Margit Leitner receive Otto Hahn Medal of the MPG

Jianqiang Wu from the Department of Molecular Ecology received the prize for his molecular studies of trypsin proteinase inhibitor defense mechanism and herbivory-induced signaling in Nicotiana. Margit Leitner from the Department of Bioorganic Chemistry was granted the medal for her research on Medicago truncatula. In her dissertation thesis she compared the plant’s induced defense responses to different biotic challenges, such as herbivore attacks. Each year the MPG honors the best junior scientists and researchers for their outstanding achievements in their Ph.D. projects.


February 26, 2008
Tobias Kaiser and Katharina Schramm received the  IMPRS Presentation Awards 2008

Katharina Schramm (Department of Biochemistry) was awarded the prize for the best talk at the annual symposium of the International Max Planck Research School "The Exploration of Ecological Interations with Molecular and Chemical Techniques". Her topic was "How special is general? Detoxification of isothiocyanates by glutathione-S-transferases in Spodoptera littoralis". Tobias Kaiser (Department of Entomology) received the award for the best poster entitled "High moon. Lunar entrainment in Clunio marinus". Congratulations!


August 1, 2007
Dieter Spiteller heads new Emmy Noether Junior Group

Chemist Dieter Spiteller from the Department of Bioorganic Chemistry (Prof. Wilhelm Boland) is head of the new Emmy Noether group “Chemical Ecology of Actinomycetes – Coordination and Induction of Secondary Metabolism”. The coveted Emmy Noether Fellowship is granted by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for up to five years.


May 25, 2007
Wilhelm Boland new ISCE Vice-President

Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Boland, director of the Department of Bioorganic Chemistry, MPI for Chemical Ecology, has been elected new Vice-President of the International Society of Chemical Ecology (ISCE). The ISCE was incorporated in 1983 and forms a nucleus for worldwide interdisciplinary cooperation between biologists and chemists on the field of chemical ecology with presently more than 600 members from 35 countries.


April 26, 2007
"Girls’ and Boys' Day“ at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

27 girls and boys from schools in and around Jena  visited the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology on April 26, 2007 to carry out experiments in the research labs. Among the workshops offered on the program were the analysis of proteins, the role of Agrobacterium as a tool to genetically modify plants, and the identification of glucosinolates in mustard seeds.


April 19, 2007
Jörg Degenhardt receives Beutenberg Campus Science Award for Research in Life Sciences and Physics

Jörg Degenhardt from the Department of Biochemistry (Prof. Dr. Jonathan Gershenzon) received this award on April 19, 2007, for his successful habilitation thesis on the "Biosynthesis and ecological function of plant terpens" about the role of terpens as volatile signals in the interaction between plants and insects. 


November 12, 2006
Doreen Schachtschabel and Karla Tolzin-Banasch receive IMPRS Presentation Prize 2006
The 5th biannual IMPRS symposium was held on November 10-11, 2006. Framed by two external speakers, Dr. Walter Federle from Cambridge University, UK, and Dr. František Baluška from Bonn University, 56 IMPRS students presented their PhD projects either by giving a talk or by presenting a poster. A jury of faculty members, senior and junior scientists chose the best contributions. The prizes were awarded to Doreen Schachtschabel for her talk on “Apocarotinoids – signal substances in fungi” and Karla Tolzin-Banasch for her poster on “Do it yourself! Chrysomela lapponica: Sequestration vs. de novo synthesis”. They won a popular scientific book and a 1000 EUR traveling fund to a scientific workshop of their choice. Congratulations!


April 28, 2006
"Girls’-Day“ at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

April 27, 2006, was "Girls' Day" in Germany, so 30 school girls  visited the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. They carried out experiments in the research labs, like measuring nicotine in tobacco plants, and analyzing scents or defense substances produced by insects. The students also learnt how seed are brought to maturity under sterile condition, and how biological pest control works in the greenhouse.


November 30, 2005
Beutenberg Campus Jena is one of 365 "Landmarks in the Land of Ideas" 2006"

The Jena Beutenberg Campus with its eight scientific institutes and two start-up centers has been selected as one of 365  "landmarks in the land of ideas" by the initiative "Germany - Land of Ideas" under the patronage of Federal President Horst Köhler.


November 21, 2005
Chemistry Prize 2005 of the Volkswagen Foundation awarded to Prof. Dr. Georg Pohnert
Prof. Dr. Georg Pohnert, until June 2005 leader of the project group "Dynamic Chemical Defense of Algae" in the Department of  Bioorganic Chemistry, was awarded the Chemistry Prize 2005 of the  Volkswagen Foundation on November 18, 2005.  On top of that Prof. Pohnert received a Lichtenberg Professorship at the University of Jena in Juli 2005. At present Prof. Pohnert is professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.


November 10, 2005
Claudia Voelckel receives Beutenberg Campus Award
Former member of the Department of Molecular Ecology Claudia Voelckel will receive the Beutenberg Campus Award for her outstanding dissertation on "Herbivore-induced changes in the transcriptome of Nicotiana attenuata" on November 10, 2005. At present she holds a PostDoc position at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


November 8, 2005
IMPRS Presentation Prize awarded to Markus Hartl and Christian Kost 

The IMPRS had its 3rd biannual Symposium on November 4 -5. Framed by two external speakers, Prof. Stefan Schulz from the TU Braunschweig, and Prof. Marcel Dicke from Wageningen University, the Netherlands, the 41 students presented their projects. The IMPRS Faculty chose the best contributions. The evaluation was also based on questionaires the students had to fill. The prizes were awarded to Markus Hartl for his talk on “Indigestible diversity in plant defenses – unraveling the importance of protease inhibitors in Solanum nigrum” and Christian Kost for his poster on “Lima bean neighbourhood watch”. They won a 1000 EUR traveling fund to a scientific conference of their choice. Congratulations!


June 24, 2005
Rayko Halitschke receives Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society

For his thesis on "Mechanisms of jasmonate-induced activation of defense responses in Nicotiana attenuata"  Rayko Halitschke received the Otto Hahn Medal 2004 in Rostock on June 23, 2005.  Since 1978 the Max Planck Society honours young scientists for outstanding scientific performance.


May 31, 2005
Jugend forscht 2005
Anne-Kathrin Schmidt and Danny Kupka (both 18) from the Staatliches Gymnasium Kölleda reached the Federal Competition as Thuringian Winners in Biology.
Their Topic: Toxic Spittle - Eat and to be Eaten - Spitting as a Defense Mechanism in Larvae of the Tobacco Moth Manduca sexta


April 7, 2005
Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Boland receives Hans Herloff Inhoffen Medal
In a joint event of the German Research Centre for Biotechnology (GBF) and the Technical University Braunschweig on April 6, 2005,  Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Boland was awarded the Hans Herloff Inhoffen Medal. This prize is donated by the friends of the GBF and is awarded yearly to outstanding performance in chemistry or life sciences.
For more information click here.


March 22, 2005
Master of Self-Healing -   Green algae close wounds by enzymatic activation of a protein cross linking agent

Dr. Georg Pohnert and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena shed light on the mystery, how Caulerpa taxifolia can close wounds immediately by enzymatic transformation of a stored terpene into a very efficient cross linking reagent.


January 20, 2005
Scientists find common roots for thousands of plant compounds

Jena and West Lafayette, USA. - Just one cellular pathway produces the raw ingredients plants use to make thousands of compounds, from molecules with anticancer properties to the active ingredient in catnip, according to a team of researchers at Purdue University and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology.
For more information click here


January 11, 2005
Thuringian Research Prize 2004 awarded by Minister of Education Göbel
In the area of Basic Research the Thuringian Research Prize is awarded to Prof. Dr. Jörn Piel, University of  Bonn (until November 2004 researcher at the  Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena), for his research on "Bacterial Symbionts as active agents isolated from animals". The awards ceremony will take place on February 3, 2005, at the Fachhochschule Schmalkalden.