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CEPLAS: SMART plants for the requirements of tomorrow

05.03.2024 - 31.08.2024

Together with the University and City Library of Cologne (USB), CEPLAS invites you to the photo exhibition "SMART plants for the demands of tomorrow" at the USB and provides insights into 10 years of excellent plant research to mark the anniversary. The exhibition was organized by the University and State Library Düsseldorf and CEPLAS.

Opening ceremony in the foyer of the USB

5. March 2024, 17 Uhr, Foyer of the USB


  •     Dr. Hubertus Neuhausen, Director of the University and City Library of Cologne
  •     Prof. Dr. Bart Thomma, Deputy Speaker of CEPLAS, Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Cologne

Discussion: How can we adapt crops to climate change?

  •     Prof. Dr. Markus Stetter, Botanical Institute, University of Cologne


  •     Afterwards, CEPLAS and the USB invite you to finger food and drinks.

Talk with Prof. Dr. Markus Stetter

Photo: Markus Stetter

CEPLAS scientist Prof. Dr. Markus Stetter gives insights into the exciting research of the CEPLAS Cluster of Excellence in a moderated discussion. He also reveals how we can obtain new crops that are well adapted to climate change and how the past domestication of plants can help.



The exhibition

With 27 impressive images from the CEPLAS researchers' collection, not only impressions from everyday research are shown, but also research methods and results. Sections through barley ears or the activity of genes during different phases of development show the fascinating facets of plant research as well as fluorescent chloroplasts in leaves. Accompanying bilingual texts describe each picture, explain the various research approaches and outline the contribution they can make to improving crops. Information about the CEPLAS Cluster of Excellence is also available on several panels. Visitors can learn about the key data of the research program and the structural influence of the Cluster of Excellence on the universities.



High-resolution images

Dieses Bild zeigt einzelne Pollenkörner von Kartoffeln.

Glutamate signals

This image shows a root of the reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana with a genetically encoded fluorescence sensor for glutamate. The sensor is localized on the outer cell membrane and enables real-time investigation of the dynamics of glutamate in living plants.
Urban niche

Urban niche

Seeds of A. thaliana were sown in various urban areas in 2021 to study the species' urban niche. The aim of the studies is to understand the relationship between the environment and the genotype and to link genetic variants to ecological factors such as light, temperature and soil.
Potato genome decoded

Potato genome decoded

This picture shows individual potato pollen grains. The potato is the most important tuber plant in the world. Recently, researchers decoded the genome of a tetraploid genome for the first time, which means that it contains four different sets of chromosomes.

About research

Plants make life on earth possible by converting solar energy into chemical energy. The domestication of plants enabled population growth and ultimately the development of highly developed civilizations. However, the increasing demand for food due to the growing world population and anthropogenic climate change pose an enormous challenge for sustainable food production and the preservation of ecosystems.

The scientific goal of the cluster is to lay the foundation for the development and breeding of (crop) plants that respond predictably to future challenges ("SMART plants") by researching the fundamentals and interplay of complex plant traits that influence adaptation to limited resources and yield.

CEPLAS combines the resources of the Universities of Düsseldorf and Cologne, the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research and Forschungszentrum Jülich to create a leading international center for plant research that attracts first-class scientists.

In addition to excellent research, CEPLAS is breaking new ground in the training of young scientists at the interface between plant sciences and microbiology, systems biology, synthetic and theoretical biology.


Exhibition location

Cologne University and City Library

Universitätsstraße 33, 50931 Cologne


Of course, you can also visit the exhibition without a library card; it is located in the foyer at the main entrance.

Opening hours

Monday to Friday from 9 to midnight

Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 21