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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, Postdoc

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 as a PhD student, to investigate how altered plant cell walls activate JA signaling. Results from some of his PhD work can be found here, here, and here. He completed his degree with full marks in 2021, and is now a postdoc in the group.


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.

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


Verona Wilde, Lab Technician

Verona grew up near Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany. She obtained her professional diploma and practical training in Braunschweig, and then moved to Halle first to the MLU and then to the IPB. Since her arrival at the IPB, she worked with many groups, across plant species, and became an expert in biochemistry, molecular biology and lab management. She joined us in Jan 2022 to keep us organized, well-trained, help us advance in our projects, as well as run her own experiments.


Mariem Ben Salah, PhD student

Mariem is from Tunis, Tunisia. She holds BSc and MSc degrees in Plant Biology and Physiology from the Faculty of Sciences in Tunis, and is fascinated by hormones and secondary metabolites. As well as having studied phenolic compounds in lichens, she is an experienced Biology high-school teacher. Mariem joined the Gasperini lab in Aug 2022 to investigate root JA biosynthesis initiation, in frame of the Research Training Group 2498 on Communication and Dynamics of Plant Cell Compartments

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.


  • Dr. Mukesh Kumar Meena, postdoc and Marie Curie fellow (12.2018-08.2022)
    Next: Faculty at NIPGR, New Delhi (IN)
  • Ronny Hennig, MSc student (03.2021-07.2022)
    Next: Navigo Proteins GmbH, Halle (DE)
  • Marlene Zimmer, Lab technician (04.2016-03.2022)
    Next: Lab technician in Severin Sasso’s Lab, Leipzig (DE)
  • Adina Schulze, MSc student (05.2017- 05.2018)
    Next: PhD student in Stefan Schild’s Lab, Graz (AT)
Staff Member
Ben Salah, Mariem PhD Student
Ma, Yunjing PhD Student
Mielke, Stefan Postdoc
Schenke, Andreas PhD Student
Wilde, Verona Technician

This page was last modified on 14.11.2022.

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