Short News Archive - 2018

November 2018
Sarah O’Connor will become new director at our institute
The Max Planck Society appointed chemist Sarah O‘Connor to our institute. She will replace Wilhelm Boland and continue to focus on chemistry in her new department. The natural product researcher, who was born in the United States, studies the diversity of plant metabolites which are often of medical interest as pharmaceutical agents. She is especially interested in exploring how plants construct these complex compounds from simple building blocks and how the metabolic pathways have evolved in the course of evolution. A further goal of her research is to produce "novel compounds" with even better properties, such as reduced side-effects.
Sarah O'Connor received her Ph.D. for studying protein glycosylation in Barbara Imperiali's lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She was a Postdoc at Harvard Medical School and returned to the MIT as a professor from 2003 to 2010. Since 2011, she is the project leader in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, United Kingdom. She received several awards for her outstanding research. In 2018, she successfully acquired funding of a large EU project (Advanced ERC Grant).
David Heckel is looking forward to this excellent scientist joining our institute: "The other Directors and I are delighted to have a new colleague, who will be very important in shaping the research direction of our Institute". The move of the new group to Jena is planned in summer 2019.

October 24, 2018
Tag der Bibliotheken - Day of the libraries
Our institute celebrates the day of the libraries in Germany. It has been celebrated every year on October 24 since it was launched in 1995. We and our librarians would like draw your attention to the libraries which are culturally indispensable locations for the storage of information and the transfer of knowledge ... more »

September 27, 2018
"Balance of the Microverse“ Cluster of Excellence
The Jena Friedrich Schiller University has been awarded an excellence cluster. The research association "Balance of the Microverse" is one of 57 clusters which will receive funding for the next seven years in the framework of the Excellence Strategy. "Balance of the Microverse" is a collaborative project between Friedrich Schiller University, the university hospital and several non-university institutes in Jena, among them the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology with Prof. Ian Baldwin as member of the executive board. The spokesperson of the new cluster of excellence is Prof. Dr. Axel Brakhage from the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology (Leibniz-HKI).

June 5, 2018
Tag der Vielfalt - Diversity @ MPI-CE
On June 5, 2018, Germany will celebrate the 6th Diversity Day.  Co-workers in our institute are diverse in many ways. Diversity is a precious treasure. We would like to portrait five members of our institute this week to show the diversity in our institute, which is the breeding ground for intercultural exchange and successful scientific collaboration ...  more »

May 24, 2018
Bill Hansson welcomed as new member of the Leopoldina

On May 23, 2018, Bill Hansson, director of the Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology, was officially welcomed as a new member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in Halle/Saale. He belongs to the Section of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. The membership in the oldest society of natural scientists in the world is a great honor which shows that research topics of chemical ecology and neuroethology play an important role in the scientific world.

From left to right: Michael Easson, Andrew O'Donnell, Sandra Lackner, Anja Meents, and Mohammed Khallaf (click to enlarge)

March 15, 2018
Michael Easson, Andrew O'Donnell, Sandra Lackner, Anja Meents and Mohammed Khallaf winners of the IMPRS presentation awards
During the 17th IMPRS Symposium in Dornburg, Michael Easson (best talk: "The sweet life: Mechanistic parallels between osmoregulation and detoxification in Bemisia tabaci"), Andrew O'Donnell (best poster: "Evolution of conifer diterpene resin acids followed evolutionary patterns supported by the patchwork hypothesis"), Sandra Lackner (best poster: "Belowground defenses in black poplar"), Anja Meents (best poster: "Could you be the One? – Identification of calcium signaling mutants"), and Mohammed Khallaf (best talk: "Finding a partner: Sexual communication in Drosophila") received the IMPRS travel awards for the best presentations.