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? 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.




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 summer term 2021 we deal with climate change - due to the virus in virtual form

Di, 22. Juni 2021, 15:45-17:15. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Platt (Umweltphysik, Heidelberg) Klima, Klimawandel und wie geht es weiter? ZOOM



Electronic Nose Sniffing Mint Scent

What was the question behind this work? Plant scents are manifold and act precisely, manipulate insects, drive competitors into suicide and also exert various influences upon us humans. To be able to investigate this, one needs to distinguish them - this should be fast, reliable and objective. This is not only relevant for biology, but also for industry. The market of scents is exclusive and expensive. Deceit is part of everyday business.

How did we approach the question? Through a truly interdisciplinary cooperation between the Botanical Institute, the Institute for Light Technology, and the Institute for Functional Interfaces, a e-nose based upon the SURMOF technology was developed and validated. As case study, we picked the Mints - here, many and closely related species have developed in a kind of chemical evolution quite different scents.

Press Release by the KIT

What is New? Old Mystery, New Answer

One of the building blocks of microtubules, a central element of the cytoskeleton that aligns growth and division of plant cells, α-tubulin, gets truncated at one end by the enzyme TTC. This leads to a shorter version of this protein. The cleaved amino acid tyrosin, can be re-joined by a different enzyme, TTL. The meaning of this roundabouts is unclear. However, since all tubulins of all life forms carry this tyrosin at their end, it seems to be important. To understand this mystery, we have upregulated the TTL of rice in rice itself and in tobacco cells by means of genetic engineering. We observe that this overexpression causes wavy phragmoplasts. These are microtubule structures that organise new cell walls. Surprisingly, we also see that the level of the truncated tubulin increases, quite opposed to the expectation, since TTL is the enzyme that is normally fusing the tyrosine, not the one cleaving it. Does this mean that we have found the elusive TTC hunted in vain over more than 30 years? The work appears in the international Journal of Integrative Plant Biology. more...

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)