Aline Probst


Université Clermont Auvergne, France


My research aims to understand how chromatin organization contributes to gene expression control in plants. I concentrate on the nucleosome, the basic subunit of chromatin, and study how nucleosomal occupancy and nucleosome composition in different histone variants can modulate chromatin organization. To achieve these goals, I examine histone chaperone proteins responsible for histone escort, deposition and turn-over and investigate how imbalanced histone dynamics affects higher-order chromatin organization and gene expression.

Nils Stein 

12_opt - stein

IPK Gatersleben, Germany

Talk Title:

Pan-genome analysis in barley and wheat – genome assembly and detection of large structural variations facilitated through 3D conformation capture


After studying Biology (Kaiserslautern), graduating in Genetics (Hohenheim) and doing postdoc research (Zurich), Nils Stein joined the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Gatersleben, in 2001 to work on cereal genomics. Since then, his research focused on structural and comparative genome analysis of the small grain cereals barley, wheat and rye – with a leading role in genome sequencing of all three species. This work has recently been extended into pan-genome analysis of barley and wheat with the intention of unlocking the genomic diversity of the vast genetic resources available for the small grains hosted in ex situ gene banks. Nils Stein was awarded the Günter and Anna Wricke Award in Applied Genetics and Breeding Research in 2010 for his achievements in Triticeae genome analysis. Since September 2018 Nils is professor of Plant Genetic Resources, Georg-August-University Göttingen, in a dual appointment with IPK Gatersleben. Since 2015 he is adjunct professor at the School of Agriculture and Environment at UWA, Australia.

Arp Schnittger


University of Hamburg, Germany

Talk title: 

Shedding light on chromosome and chromatin behavior in meiosis


Arp Schnittger is full professor for developmental biology at the University of Hamburg/Germany and currently managing director of the Institute of Plant Sciences and Microbiology (IPM). The main focus of his research team is the molecular mechanisms that control phenotypic stability and change. In particular, he studies with his co-workers DNA damage response and meiosis.He moved to Hamburg in 2014 after having headed the department of cell biology at the Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes (IBMP) in Strasbourg/France, where he worked from 2007 till 2013. Before moving to France, he led a junior research team at the University of Cologne in collaboration with the Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research from 2001 till 2006. He studied biology at the University of Tübingen/Germany and the University of Washington in Seattle/USA and received his Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Tübingen in 2001.

Wendy Bickmore

Wendy Bickmore

University of Edinburgh, UK

Talk Title:

How important is 3D genome organisation for function?


Wendy Bickmore is Director of the MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. She is fascinated by the structure and organization of chromatin in the nucleus. Her group showed that different human chromosomes have preferred positions in the nucleus, related to their gene content, and addressed how genes are organized and packaged in the nucleus and how they move in the cell cycle and during development. She demonstrated that the polycomb repressive complex functions by compacting higher-order chromatin at target loci. Current research in Wendy Bickmore’s laboratory focuses on how the spatial organization of the nucleus influences genome function in development and disease, including how enhancers communicate with their target gene promoters. Wendy is an EMBO member, a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She was the president of the Genetics Society of Great Britain from 2015 to 2018. She is an editor on many journals including PLoS Genetics and Cell.

Xuehua Zhong 

University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Talk Title: 

Linking Signaling Pathway to Chromatin Dynamics


Dr. Xuehua Zhong received her B.S. and M.S. from Wuhan University in China and her PhD degree from The Ohio State University in 2007. For her dissertation research, she studied how a noncoding, pathogenic RNA establishes infection using a circular RNA viroid as a model. After completion of her PhD, she joined Dr. Steve Jacobsen’s HHMI laboratory at UCLA investigating the molecular mechanism of DNA methylation in plants. In 2013, Xuehua accepted a tenure track faculty position in the Department of Genetics and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she continued her interests in epigenetic regulation. Since then, she has gone on to work out some fascinating molecular details on how DNA methylation coupled with histone modification regulates genome stability, developmental and environmental interaction using a combination of functional genomics, genetic, proteomic, biochemical, cell biological, and structural approaches. Xuehua received several prestigious awards including a Faculty CAREER award from NSF, Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award from NIH, the Alfred Toepfer Faculty Fellow Award, and Vilas Faculty Early Career Investigator Award.

Jim Murray 


Cardiff University, UK

Talk Title: 

Chromatin particle spectrum analysis and the dynamics of sub-nucleosomal particles in Arabidopsis


Jim Murray studied Genetics at Cambridge, and then a PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg on the yeast two micron plasmid. He was appointed to a Lectureship in Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge in 1988, and became Professor of Molecular Biotechnology in 2004. In 2008, he moved to the School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Wales where he is currently Head of School. He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, a Member of the Academia Europaea, Vice-President of the Society of Experimental Biology, and co-founder of the successful spinout company Lumora (now Erba MDX).

Célia Baroux 


University of Zurich, Germany

Talk Title:

 Unlocking the route to reproductive lineage initiation in plants – a role for linker histone eviction?   


Célia Baroux is a plant cell and developmental biologist interested in the functional principles of nuclear architecture and chromatin organization in plants. She uses cytogenetics, high-resolution imaging and image processing approaches in combination with molecular genetics to elucidate the role of chromatin dynamics during cellular differentiation in the model plant Arabidopsis.

Monica Pradillo 


Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

Talk Title:

The nuclear envelope is the dance floor for the chromosomes during meiosis


I graduated in Biology with a major in Genetics at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (June 2003). In 2004, I received the Extraordinary Bachelor's Award for being the highest-ranking student in Biology. After receiving a scholarship for doing the PhD (2004), I had a contract as Assistant Professor, in Departamento de Genética, also at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (October 2007-February 2019). I have combined my teaching activities with two three-month stays, one of them abroad (Imperial College, London, UK) for which I obtained an EMBO grant (May-August 2012).My research has been mainly focused in plant meiosis. I am particularly interested in elucidating the mechanisms that control pairing, synapsis and recombination, as well as the relationships between them. In my experiments I use a combination of molecular cytogenetics and molecular cell biology approaches. I apply these techniques in the plant model Arabidopsis thaliana, but I'm starting to work with other species (rye, wheat). I believe that my research will contribute to gain control over meiotic recombination, in terms of modifying frequency and distribution of recombination events along plant chromosomes. This knowledge will be essential for plant breeders to effectively engineer the allelic composition of chromosomes.

Ales Pecinka


Institute of Experimental Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic

Talk Title:

SMC5/6 complex controls ploidy levels of male gametes in Arabidopsis


Ales Pecinka is expert in plant chromatin, nuclear organization and genome stability. He received PhD at the Leibnitz Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) Gatersleben/Martin Luther University in Halle, Germany, worked as postdoctoral researcher at Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology in Vienna, Austria and as group leader at Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany. Since 2017, he is group leader at the Institute of Experimental Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Olomouc, Czech Republic. His current research focuses on understanding role of nuclear proteins, in particular Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes complexes, in plant genome organization, regulation of gene expression and development.

Crisanto Gutierrez 

Crisanto Gutiérrez

CMBSO, Spain

Talk Title:

Chromatin dynamics, cell proliferation and response to the environment: closing the triangle


Crisanto Gutierrez is Professor of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) at the Centro de Biologia Molecular “Severo Ochoa” (Madrid), where he is currently Director of the Department of Genome Dynamics and Function.  He received a BSc by the University of Seville and a PhD by the University Autonoma of Madrid (1980). Then, he worked as Assistant Professor of Cell Biology in Madrid before moving first to Harvard University and, then, to the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology where he studied SV40 DNA replication (1982-1990). After his return to Madrid, he started to use geminiviruses as a model to study DNA replication in plants, leading to advances in the field of geminivirus biology and plant cell cycle, such us the retinoblastoma/E2F pathway. More recently, he has focused on the relationships between cell proliferation, epigenetics and DNA replication during development. He is Elected Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), belongs to the editorial advisory board of EMBO J. and EMBO Rep., is Editor of Plant J., and serves in the Scientific Advisory Board several research Institutes.

Eirini Kaeserli


University of Glasgow, UK

Talk title:

Nuclear events shaping light-regulated plant architecture


Eirini’s interest in biology led her from the island of Kos, Greece to the UK. She obtained a degree in Biotechnology (with Work Placement) form the University of Glasgow in 2004. Eirini was introduced to the world of photoreceptor research during her Work Placement at Stanford University (Briggs lab, Carnegie Inst. of Washington), and subsequently completed her PhD in 2008 at the University of Glasgow (Prof. Jenkins lab) investigating the function and localisation of the first genetically encoded UV-B receptor, UVR8. After her PhD., Eirini briefly worked on phototropin research and was involved in developing the plant blue-light sensory LOV domain into a fluorescent marker at the lab of Prof. Christie (University of Glasgow). In 2009, Eirini was awarded a Human Frontiers Science Program postdoctoral fellowship to join the Chory lab at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (La Jolla, California), where she studied the function of a novel signalling component integrating light, hormone and clock networks to promote plant growth. In 2013, Eirini received a Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Fellowship to establish her own lab at the University of Glasgow and since then has been promoted to Associate Professor. The focus of her research is to understand how environmental stimuli induce changes in nuclear architecture, chromatin organisation and gene expression to regulate plant growth and development. In particular, she is interested in elucidating the molecular function, composition and physiological significance of the light-regulated nuclear body complexes in plants using a multi-disciplinary approach. 

Darius Plewczynski (University of Warsaw, Poland)

Dariusz Plewczyński - RS

Talk title:

Three-dimensional GeNOme Modeling Engine for data-driven biophysical simulations of CTCF and RNAPII-mediated higher-order chromatin organization


Dariusz Plewczynski, PhD is a professor at University of Warsaw in Center of New Technologies CeNT, Warsaw, Poland, the head of Laboratory of Functional and Structural Genomics and the principal investigator at Mathematics and Information Science Department at Warsaw University of Technology. His main expertise covers computational genomics, biostatistics and bioinformatics. He is actively developing the computational intelligence algorithms, perform biophysical simulations and apply computational modeling to various interdisciplinary problems in Human genomics. His recent achievements cover qualitative and quantitative biological data analysis, the general systems theory and interdisciplinary problems in the context of bioinformatics, genomics, drug design, and systems biology; ensemble learning systems, meta-clustering techniques.

Chang Liu (Tübingen University, Germany)

Chang Liu


Chang Liu received his Bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees at National University of Singapore, where he did both of his undergraduate and graduate studies in Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science. After graduation, he worked as a Research Fellow at Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory in Singapore, and later at Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Germany. 
Since he started his lab at Tübingen University in 2015, he has been working at the interface of experimental biology and computing to understand the biological meaning of dynamic chromatin structure and positioning in plants.

Christophe Tatout
(Université Clermont Auvergne, France)

Geraint Parry (Garnet,Cardiff University, UK)

Isabel Bäurle (Universität Potsdam, Germany)


Steven Spoel (University of Edinburgh, UK)