Born in Germany; naturalized US citizen (2001). Diploma in Biology, University of Cologne (1986). PhD in Genetics, Tübingen (1988). Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (1989-1993). Assistant and Associate Professor, Salk Institute, La Jolla (1993-2002). Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen (since 2001). The first major finding from the Weigel lab was that an Arabidopsis gene could dramatically accelerate flowering of trees; this established a proof of concept for Arabidopsis genetics as a platform for biotechnological discoveries. The Weigel group later discovered the first plant microRNA mutant and identified the factor that we now know to be the long sought-after mobile flower-inducing signal. Weigel was also one of the first to exploit natural genetic variation for understanding how the environment affects plant development. His lab established Arabidopsis thaliana as an excellent model for studying a widespread incompatibility phenomenon that results from conflict between components of the immune .

Research Interests

In recent years, Weigel's work has come to incorporate questions at the interface of evolution and ecology: How can wild plants adapt to climate change, and how do they manage to keep their pathogens at bay? This research draws on the fruits of a collaborative effort initiated in the aughts to sequence the genomes of over one thousand natural Arabidopsis thaliana strains (The 1001 Genomes Project).

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Primary Section

Section 25: Plant Biology

Secondary Section

Section 27: Evolutionary Biology