Highly-endowed Funding for Heidelberg Biologist Dr. Alexis Maizel
18 July 2014
Biologist Dr. Alexis Maizel has been accepted into the “PLUS 3” Perspectives Programme of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation. The junior research group leader of Heidelberg University's “CellNetworks” Cluster of Excellence will receive funding of up to 900,000 euros over the next three-year period. Set to begin next year, the endowment will be used to support Dr. Maizel's research into the principles of plasticity in the development and formation of plant cells at the Centre for Organismal Studies (COS) of Heidelberg University. Through the lens of morphogenetic plasticity, the scientist and his team will examine fundamental questions in biology, studying how environmental influences effect the development of organisms.
The researchers will be using model systems in their investigations to understand how plants continually adapt their growth, and hence their differentiation and development, to the environment. “The central question is how the changing environment impacts developmental processes. We want to find out how plants generate shape and what the relationship is between shape and adaptation strategies,” explains Dr. Maizel. “Our work is directly connected to one of the greatest challenges of our times – the search for solutions that sustain plant productivity in order to feed the world’s ever growing population.”
Alexis Maizel was born in 1975 in Tourcoing (France). He studied mathematics, physics and biology in Lille and Lyon as well as Paris, where he earned his doctorate in 2002. His postdoctoral research took him to the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (both in the USA) as well as the CNRS Institute for Plant Sciences in Gif-sur-Yvette in France. He completed his habilitation at the University of Paris-Sud in 2010 with a study on the regulation of morphogenetic processes in animals and plants. That same year Dr. Maizel joined Heidelberg University to head a junior research team in the „CellNetworks“ Cluster of Excellence at the Centre for Organismal Studies. The scientist has received prior funding from the State of Baden-Württemberg, the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation and the German Research Foundation.
The funding programmes and scientific awards of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, established in 1977, help promote top-notch research in the fields of medicine, biology, chemistry and pharmacy. For its “PLUS 3” Perspectives Programme, the foundation selects outstanding, advanced group leaders with a proven track record of excellence in basic medical, biological and chemical research. The goal of the programme is to promote young researchers in sharpening their research profile and thus to improve their chances of a call to a fitting, scientifically excellent professorship.