PhenoRob Junior Group Research Leader Wins Argelander Starter-Kit Grant

Marija Popovic receives funding in the amount of 13.700€ from the University of Bonn for her postdoctoral project

The Argelander Starter-Kit Grant is a central pillar of the University of Bonn’s Argelander Program for Young Academics and is designed to support young and emerging researchers in their academic careers after their PhDs. This grant especially helps postdocs fund material resources to support research activities and a comprehensive advisory program for writing a third-party funding proposal and preparing for an academic career. The program also offers individual consultations to fully prepare postdoctoral researchers for the continuation of their academic careers.

How plants respond to environmental stress

Biologist Prof. Dr. Amy Marshall-Colon will join PhenoRob as a guest professor in May 2022 for three months.

Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award: Plant biologist from the US will conduct research at the University of Bonn next year

What effects does environmentally induced “stress” have on crops, and how can these effects be predicted? Biologist Prof. Dr. Amy Marshall-Colon is working on this question at the University of Illinois in the US – and soon also as a guest professor at the DFG-funded Cluster of Excellence “PhenoRob – Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production” at the University of Bonn. For the cooperation with her colleagues and the planned research stay in Bonn, she now receives a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, endowed with 45,000 euros. To conduct her research, Amy Marshall-Colon will be in Bonn from May 15-August 15, 2022.

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation awards around 20 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Awards to internationally renowned researchers from abroad in recognition of their outstanding research achievements. The award bears the name of the German astronomer and mathematician Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (1784-1846) and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

New award recipient Amy Marshall-Colon develops models that show how plants respond to environmental perturbations considering their genetic characteristics. “Amy Marshall-Colon’s research activities are outstanding, particularly her achievements in developing mathematical multiscale models to analyze gene-by-environment interactions,” emphasizes Prof. Dr. Frank Ewert, Principal Investigator at the Cluster who has nominated her for the award. The agricultural scientist has already collaborated with the plant biologist.

Among other things, Marshall-Colon investigates how plants take up nitrogen fertilizer even under higher temperatures due to climate change, which then does not end up as a pollutant in the air or water. To that end, she is exploring the underlying genetic and molecular mechanisms. Her models are constructed to lead to a better understanding of plant growth processes and to support the breeding of crops that can withstand stressful environments.

Research field is of interest to various disciplines

In recent years, Amy Marshall-Colon has already given various lectures in the context of the PhenoRob Seminar Series and the Cluster’s flagship conference DigiCrop 2020. “What’s special is that her presentations resonated not only with a small group of specialists but also with a wider audience of scientists from diverse disciplines,” says Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Nora Berning. For her, it is clear that Marshall-Colon’s research topic attracts researchers from various fields: genetics, plant biology and crop physiology as well as geodesy, photogrammetry and robotics, soil sciences, and agricultural policy. All these disciplines are represented within PhenoRob – with the overarching goal of exploring new ways to grow crops and manage fields sustainably.

About the person:

Amy Marshall-Colon is Professor of Plant Biology at the University of Illinois in the US and previously conducted research at New York University and Purdue University in West Lafayette (USA). She has already received numerous grants and awards and has published her research results in high-ranking journals for years.

Prof. Dr. Frank Ewert recognized as one of the most influential scientists in the field of Agricultural Science

According to the international ranking “Highly Cited Researchers 2020”, one of our Principal Investigators Prof. Dr. Frank Ewert belongs to the top 1% of researchers worldwide. His scientific papers and his academic work are leading the way in his field of Agricultural Sciences and influence the research of numerous scientists around the world. You can read about the full ranking here and review the publications of Prof. Dr. Ewert here.

Prof. Dr. Frank Ewert, Principal Investigator PhenoRob
© Volker Lannert

PhenoRob PhD student Christoph Pahmeyer wins 2020 DIGICROP Best Video Award

In the closing session of the virtual conference DIGICROP2020, the spokespersons of the Cluster of Excellence, Heiner Kuhlmann and Cyrill Stachniss, announced the winner of the Best Video Award – Christoph Pahmeyer. Christoph, PhD student in the Cluster of Excellence “PhenoRob”, wins the award for his video “Fruchtfolge: A crop rotation decision support system” in the category “short trailer”. You can watch his award-winning trailer here. Christoph has created a short guide on how to create great videos and was so kind as to share his blog post with us. You can read Christoph’s helpful advice here. Thanks, Christoph, and congratulations!

PhenoRob and partners win Syngenta Crop Challenge

On the basis of environmental and crop growth data and profound expert knowledge, the “Fraunhofer Research Center for Machine Learning” and the cluster of excellence PhenoRob have developed an artificial intelligence that determines environmental conditions in agriculture and their impact on plant growth. With their technology, the scientists took the first place in the Syngenta Crop Challenge 2019.

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