What we do

Welcome in the Nick-Lab

Molecular Cell Biology (Prof. Dr. Peter Nick)

Fritz-Haber-Weg, Gbd. 30.43 (Torre de Biología), 5. floor. e-mail. How to find us




the journal with the longest tradition in cell biology (Springer-Nature). We publish it. more...


What is new?  The new "Strasburger"

127 years ago Eduard Strasburger founded the textbook of botany, which appeared now in the 38. edition - this makes the "Strasburger" the biology textbook with the longest history. Peter Nick contributed a couple of 100 pages to the topics structure and function of the plant body and plant development. The "Strasburger" pursues the goal to depict the entire knowledge on plants, comprehensively, up-to-date, and at the same time filtered. Even though it had never been easier to acquire information, the problem is progressively to filter relevant from irrelevant. Textbooks are, therefore, not outdated, but more important than ever. more...





The State Teaching Award 2015 was given to Peter Nick and Mathias Gutmann. The money was used to found the Forum. Beyond faculties and disciplines, we debate here on controversial topics. In the WS 2021-2022 it is about Time.



What is new? New Sorghum variety

Our colleague Dr. Adnan Kanbar succeeded over years of work to breed a new variety of Sorghum bicolor (originating from Sudan) for bio-economical applications and our European climate. Upon sowing in May, this plant reaches more than 3 m height till September. Due to a changed architecture of the vasculature, the new variety KIT1 can transport more sugar, such that more bio-ethanol can be fermented. To the KIT press release.

What is New?  LEGO with a Chip

Together with the team of Prof. Dr. Guber at the Institute of Microstructure Technology (Campus North) we have developed over the years a microfluidic chip for plant cells. This allows to cultivate different cells together, enabling chemical communication, while the distance rules are strictly kept. Our newest work explores what one can do with this modular chip system. We show that lonely plant cells do not divide, but can be stimulated to do so, by providing through the microfluidic stream the chemical presence of other cells (Quorum Sensing). We show further, how the chip helps to study fungi involved in the Esca Syndrome (a grapevine disease that is threatening in consequence of climate change) produce toxins in response to plant cells. In a third application we play then metabolic LEGO and get two different cell lines from the medicinal plant Catharanthus roseus (Madagassian Periwinkle) to generate vindolin in a kind of chemical team work. Vindolin is the precursor for the precious anti-tumour compounds vinblastin and vincristin. The chip is an important milestone in our Interreg project DialogProTec. more....

Bioherbicides from Mint

What was the question behind this work? Plant scents are manifold and often exert unexpected effects. Mints smell quite differently, depending on the species and have been used by humans ever since for their aromatic and medicinal effects. For what purpose did they evolve these scents - certainly not to please us, although we humans tend to think that Nature exists exclusively for our purpose. In fact, Mints use these scents to drive their competitors into suicide. In our previous work, we have discovered, how this works. Now, we want to exploit this trick for novel bioherbicides. The Frankfurter Rundschau has now addressed this in their focus on bio-economy.

Article of the Frankfurter Rundschau on our Mint project


What our research is about

Life is not easy. There are two ways to cope – animals run away, plants adapt. We want to understand, how. The key are plant cells, since they mediate shape, adaptation and the enormous diversity of plants.




Evolution solves problems in a sustainable, highly diverse manner. Can we valorise this diversity? We work to protect and use diversity. We develop methods, to safeguard consumer protections in times of globalisation. more... Amaranth, the Superfood of the Inka, as functional food. Wir try to raise the content of Omega-3-Fatty Acids, to develop a vegan alternative for sea fish (EU-CORNET, 2020-2022) together with the University of Hohenheim and partners from Peru. more...
Plants are masters of adaptation. How do they overcome stress? We work on jasmonic acid, the plant "adrenalin", but also about the immune system of grapevine. more.. Ecosystem on chip for sustainable plant protection (Interreg Science Offensive, 2019-2022). more...
Plant cells can self organise without a "Big Brother". The ability of each individual cells to acquire its own direction, is central. How does this work? more... Cold resistance of strawberries (BMBF, 2018-2020)