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Ute Höcker

Position: Professor

eMail: hoeckeru(at)

phone: 0221-470-6897

To see Ute Höcker's CV, klick on the following link: CV

Christian Schenkel

Position: Technichal Assistant

eMail: cschenke(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477

As technician I support the group as much as possible. Ordering, checking bills, preparing competent cells, and keeping our cell cultures alive are my common tasks.
Additionally, I support individual lab members in their projects, but I hope to pursue my own project in the future as well.

Outside the lab, I enjoy my free time by learning languages, playing video games and playing trading card games with friends.

Martina Reiter

Position: Secretary
Room 4.609

eMail: mreiter1(at)

phone: 0221-470-1138

Jathish Ponnu

Position: Postdoctoral fellow

eMail: jponnu(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477

I am broadly interested in elucidating the interactions between COP1/SPA complex and photoreceptors, in mechanistic details. 

Ruiyan Tao

Position: Postdoctoral fellow

eMail: rtao2(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477


SPA proteins play negative regulatory role in plant photomorphogenesis. My project mainly focuses on how SPA1 regulates anthocyanin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Konstantin Kerner

Position: Ph.D. Student

eMail: kernerk(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477

One of my projects addresses the question why SPA proteins are required for the correct functionality of the E3 ubiquitin ligase COP1. a prominent hypothesis is that SPAs facilitate cooperativity between COP1 and a member of the CUL4/DDB1 E3 ligase complex, DDB1. I am using triple interaction assays as well as genetic and bioinformatic approaches to investigate this hypothesis. I am also investigating whether WD repeat domains of COP1 and SPA1 are interchangeable in regarding their functionality by generating domain-swapped transgenic lines. This could potentially provide valuable insights into the specific interactions of COP1 and SPA1 with their interaction partners.

Apart from science, I enjoy my spare time by longboarding and reading graphic novels.

Melanie Kreiss

Position: Ph.D. Student

eMail: mkreiss(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477

Laura Trimborn

Position: Ph.D. Student

eMail: ltrimbor(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477


In light, photoreceptors suppress the activity of the COP1/SPA E3 ubiquitin ligase to initiate photomorphogenesis.
I am interested in the precise molecular mechanisms how this inhibtion is taking place in Arabidopsis thaliana.


Marion Stoll

Position: Student helper

eMail: mstoll(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477


During my master studies at the University of Cologne I support the members of this lab in their projects as a scientific assistant. Before I already worked in other plant physiology labs in Freiburg and Edinburgh.

Jessica Thome

Position: Ph.D. Student

eMail: jthome1(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477



"Under competition plants like Arabidopsis thaliana display a reduced number of branches. My project is about the TCP transcription factor BRC1, a negative regulator of branching. I am particularly interested in the investigation of BRC1, its role under competition and its function in light signaling."


Maike Hansen

Position: Ph.D. Student


phone: 0221-470-2477