Dr Franziska Fichtner

Laureate Fellow Postdoctoral Resear

School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science


My research focusses on the connnection between the plant's metabolism and the plant's phenotype. While most studies focus on only one of these aspects, I am trying to combine both research areas to study plant physiology and development. More precisely I am trying to investigate how sugar and phytohormone signalling pathways are connected to regulate shoot branching in arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and pea (Pisum sativum). My focus is on a sucrose-specific signalling metabolite, trehalose 6-phosphate (Tre6P), that is also a negative feedback regulator of sucrose levels. Additonally, changes in Tre6P levels lead to many metabolic and phenotypic alterations in plants including changes in the shoot branching pattern and architecture of the plant. We are trying to understand how Tre6P modulates shoot architecture, how it interacts with known phytohormones and what molecular mechanisms are involved.

Short Biography

I started my scientific career by studying biology at the Westfaelische Wilhelms-University in Muenster (Germany) finishing with a Bachelor of Sciences. As I wanted to focus on plant sciences, I did my Master’s at the University of Bonn (Germany) finishing with a Master of Sciences in Plant Science. I then relocated to Potsdam (close to Berlin, Germany) to do my PhD in the group of Mark Stitt at the Max Planck Institute of Plant Molecular Physiology where I started to work under the supervision of John Lunn on the plant’s metabolism, with a special focus on Tre6P and sucrose metabolism. During my PhD, my research was focused around the connection between metabolism and development and how this connection shapes the plant's phenotype. After finishing my PhD thesis that got awarded with the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society, in 2017 I stayed as a postdoctoral researcher to finish my work on the regulation of metabolism and development in Arabidopsis by Tre6P and Tre6P synthase. Beginning of 2020, I moved to The University of Queensland in Australia to work as a Laureate Fellow Postdoctoral Research Associate with Christine Beveridge on the regulation of shoot branching by the crosstalk of phytohormones, Tre6P and sugars.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Potsdam


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  • Doctor Philosophy

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Journal Article

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision