Ralph Bock, PhD, is Director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, and a Professor at the University of Potsdam, Germany. He received his MSc degree from the University of Halle in 1993, and his PhD from the University of Freiburg in 1996. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Freiburg (1996-2001), and Full Professor and Director of the Institute of Biochemistry and Plant Biotechnology at the University of Münster (2001-2004), before being appointed Director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam-Golm in 2004. He is an Honorary Professor at Hubei University, Wuhan, China, an elected member of EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organization), member of the National Academy of Sciences of Germany (Leopoldina), member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW), and member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. He is a Highly Cited Researcher (Web of Science) and, in 2017, he received the Martin Gibbs Medal of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) for his pioneering work on experimental evolution and the discovery of horizontal genome transfer. He is a senior editor of Plant Cell, and an editorial board member of Plant Biotechnology Journal and Molecular Plant.

Research Interests

Dr. Bock’s research team uses a wide range of cutting-edge biochemical, physiological, and genetic techniques to investigate the DNA-containing cell organelles of plants (chloroplasts and mitochondria), with interests ranging from organellar physiology and gene expression to metabolic and genetic interactions between organelles and other cellular compartments. In addition, his group is developing tools for biotechnology and synthetic biology in plants and eukaryotic algae (green algae and red algae) to facilitate new applications in metabolic engineering, molecular farming and resistance engineering. Finally, the Bock group is also exploring the mechanisms of genome evolution in eukaryotes, and the genetic and evolutionary processes underlying the formation of new species.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 25: Plant Biology

Secondary Section

Section 62: Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences