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The Team

Debora Gasperini, Group leader

Debora grew up near Umag, Croatia. She became interested in plant biology during her IB project on micropropagation of poplar hybrids at the UWCAd (IT). She then studied Biology and Functional Genomics at the University of Trieste (IT), where she investigated the Self Incompatibility response in coffee in Alberto Pallavicini’s lab. Determined to explore the genetic potential of the complex bread wheat genome, she joined Simon Griffiths’s lab in 2006. Her PhD was a joint project between the JIC and NIAB, and was awarded by the University of East Anglia (UK) in Sept 2010. After that, she moved to the electrifying team of Ted Farmer at UNIL (CH). There, in addition to her postdoc work on Arabidopsis wound responses and root growth, she was appointed junior lecturer in Plant Molecular Biology. In Feb 2016, Debora started her own research group at the IPB in Halle (DE).


Stefan Mielke, PhD student

Stefan grew up near Forst (Lausitz), Germany. He obtained his degree in Biochemistry from the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. During his BSc thesis, he received extensive cell biology training in Bettina Hause’s lab where he also moved his first steps into the JA world. He then joined Nico Dissmeyer’s group for his MSc project to study protein degradation pathways. Stefan joined the Gasperini lab in Feb 2016 and is now eagerly investigating how do altered plant cell walls activate JA signaling.


Marlene Zimmer, Research assistant

Marlene comes from Leipzig, Germany. She obtained her professional diploma and practical training at the IPK in Gatersleben, and then moved to the University of Heidelberg where she assisted Amal Johnston in setting-up his lab. During that time, she also enjoyed a visit to Andrew Cuming's lab at Leeds University (UK). After working at Immunodiagnostik AG in Bensheim, Marlene joined the Gasperini lab in Apr 2016 where, as well as keeping the team organized and training new members, she is actively involved in several projects including the most puzzling ones.


Andreas Schenke, PhD student

Andreas is from Stuttgart, Germany. He obtained his BSc in Zoology from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich followed by an MSc in Biology from the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. His curiosity on how plants respond to different environmental stimuli led him to pursue an MSc study on the molecular basis of light and JA signaling interactions in Andreas Hiltbrunner’s lab. Funded by the DFG, Andreas then decided to join the Gasperini lab in November 2018 to uncover the role of the JA pathway in different cell types.



Mukesh Kumar Meena, postdoc

Mukesh comes from Jaipur, India. He studied Biotechnology in Madurai before moving to New Delhi and joining the National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR). His interests in plant biology first led him to Debasis Chattopadhyay’s lab where he obtained his PhD in 2015, and then to Jyothilakshmi Vadassery’s lab to investigate plant-insect interactions as a postdoc. Within the frame of a DFG grant, Mukesh joined the Gasperini lab in December 2018 to characterize novel signaling pathways regulating JA-Ile production.

Yunjing Ma, PhD student

Yunjing comes from Ledu (Qinghai province), China. She studied Horticultural Sciences first in Northwest Agriculture & Forestry University and then in Zhejiang University. For her MSc project in Yuanwen Teng’s lab she optimized transformation procedures in pear, which was until then recalcitrant to transformation. Her work in pear also included the study of TIFY genes and the role of JA treatment in anthocyanin accumulation. After her studies, she worked as a research assistant in the Southern University of Science and Technology on plant epigenetics. Yunjing joined the Gasperini lab in July 2019 to unravel the activation mechanisms of JA biosynthesis in plastids, in frame of the Research Training Group 2498 on Communication and Dynamics of Plant Cell Compartments




Ronny Hennig, MSc student

Ronny grew up in Limbach-Oberfrohna near Chemnitz (Saxony), Germany, and is studying Biochemistry at the Martin-Luther-University in Halle. He completed his BSc in 2020 with Joerg Ziegler in the Nutrient sensing team, where his curiosity for plant biochemistry awoke. He joined the Gasperini lab for an internship in summer 2020, and for his MSc degree in March 2021. His research will focus on JA-Ile perception and signalling.

Interested in joining us?

Applications from talented PhD students and postdocs who can attract their own fellowships are always welcome. If you would like to work with us, please send an e-mail to debora.gasperinino spam please@ipb-halle.de with your CV and a motivation letter explaining your research interests and how they fit our lab. To find the appropriate funding scheme please visit http://www.ipb-halle.de/en/career/research-funding/. We will support suitable candidates during the application process.


  • Adina Schulze, MSc student (05.2017- 05.2018)
    Currently: PhD student in Stefan Schild’s Lab, Graz (AT).
Staff Member
Hennig, Ronny Master Student
Ma, Yunjing PhD Student
Meena, Mukesh Kumar Postdoc
Mielke, Stefan PhD Student
Schenke, Andreas PhD Student
Zimmer, Marlene Technician

This page was last modified on 19.03.2021.

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