Franziska Eberl receives the Otto-Hahn-Medal
The young Max Planck researcher studied how poplars defend themselves against two attackers at the same time: voracious caterpillars and pathogenic fungi.
This year, the Max Planck Society is once again awarding prizes to the best young scientists for outstanding doctoral theses. Among them is Franziska Eberl of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, who devoted her doctoral research to the ecological interactions in a three-way relationship between tree, insect pest and fungus. She found that poplar leaves infected by a rust fungus are particularly eagerly eaten by certain caterpillars. This means that many insects previously known to be purely herbivores are in fact also fungus eaters. In addition, she was able to uncover the chemical and genetic mechanisms underlying the phenomenon that trees' defenses against caterpillar feeding are weakened when they are already infected by a fungus. The award ceremony will take place digitally during the annual meeting of the Max Planck Society on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. The Otto Hahn Medal is endowed with a recognition sum of 7500 euros.