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Dr. Elke Barbez

Research Interest

The root cell wall charge plays a presumptive role in the acquisition of plant nutrients which is currently still poorly understood. We combine mathematical modelling with molecular biological approaches to identify the role of the dynamic cell wall charge regulation in the acquisition of cationic mineral nutrients. Our lab developed molecular tools for the in-vitro as well as in-vivo assessment of root cell wall charge in plants. We molecularly assess the coordinated interplay between apoplastic pH regulation and genetic factors that modify the cell wall charge in response to altered nutrient availability. Our data reveals that nutrient availability impacts on the dynamic regulation of cell wall charge enabling optimized plant growth adaptation.
Gaining insight into how plants mine their nutrients and how plants adjust themselves to limited or excessive nutrient availability will help to optimize and eventually reduce the usage of expensive and often harmful fertilizers in agriculture.


  1. Führer, M., Gaidora, A., Venhuizen, P., Dobrogojski, J., Béziat, C., Feraru, M. I., … & Barbez, E. (2020). FRUITFULL Is a Repressor of Apical Hook Opening in Arabidopsis thaliana. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21(17), 6438.
  2. Barbez, E., Dünser, K., Gaidora, A., Lendl, T., & Busch, W. (2017). Auxin steers root cell expansion via apoplastic pH regulation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(24), E4884-E4893.
  3. Barbez, E., Kubeš, M., Rolčík, J., Béziat, C., Pěnčík, A., Wang, B., … & Kleine-Vehn, J. (2012). A novel putative auxin carrier family regulates intracellular auxin homeostasis in plants. Nature, 485(7396), 119-122.

More publications:

What I am looking for in a prospective Rising Star

Rising stars will be involved in the experimental assessment on how nutrient availability steers cell wall charge in order to optimize adaptive plant growth in variable nutritious environmental conditions. We would like to kick off a common collaboration or to recruit potential PhD students or postdoc candidates.