< Landesforschungspreis geht an Detlef Weigel

Marco Todesco receives Otto Hahn Medal

PhD thesis about the natural variation of plants wins award


Marco Todesco, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in the Molecular Biology department. Bild: Jörg Abendroth / Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. Tübingen, 6. June 2011. Marco Todesco, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, was awarded the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society in recognition of his outstanding PhD thesis in the field of natural plant variation. Marco Todesco will receive the medal, along with a cash prize, at the Annual Meeting of the Max Planck Society in Berlin on June 8, 2011.  

Marco Todesco works in the Molecular Biology department of the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen under the supervision of Director Detlef Weigel. The Otto Hahn Medal for outstanding scientific achievements as a PhD student comes with 7500 Euros prize money. The prize is intended to provide especially gifted junior researchers with the financial basis to obtain international training and to motivate them to pursue an academic or research career.  

In his PhD thesis, Marco Todesco addressed one of the key questions of biology: How do organisms adapt to their environment and how do they develop adaptive traits? His model organism, the thale cress, Arabidopsis thaliana, can be found in the entire northern hemisphere, from the polar circle via Europe to North Africa and Asia. While the plant can display extensive foliage or appear small and fragile, it is always the same species. Marco Todesco wanted to know how different environmental factors influence the development of a plant in its natural surroundings and which genes are responsible. His most important finding showed that, even in nature, you get nothing for free. He discovered that especially pathogen-resistant plants of the thale cress produce fewer and smaller leaves and have a competitive disadvantage in the absence of pathogens. Therefore, the answer to the question whether it is better to invest into disease resistance or biomass depends on the circumstances.  

Since 1978, the Max Planck Society annually awards the Otto Hahn Medal to outstanding young scientists.    

Contact:
Dr. Marco Todesco
Phone: 07071 601-1406
E-mail: marco.todesco(at)tuebingen.mpg.de  

Stephanie Bertenbreiter (Public Relations Office)
Phone: 07071 601-472
E-mail: presse(at)tuebingen.mpg.de  


The Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology conducts basic research in the fields of biochemistry, genetics and evolutionary biology. It employs about 325 people and is located at the Max Planck Campus in Tübingen. The Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology is one of 80 research institutes that the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science maintains in Germany.


Marco Todesco, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in the Molecular Biology department. Picture: Jörg Abendroth / Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology.

Marco Todesco, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in the Molecular Biology department. Picture: Jörg Abendroth / Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology.

Marco Todesco, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in the Molecular Biology department. Picture: Jörg Abendroth / Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology.

Marco Todesco, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in the Molecular Biology department. Picture: Jörg Abendroth / Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology.

Otto Hahn Medal. Picture: Max Planck Society.

Otto Hahn Medal. Picture: Max Planck Society.