Welcome to Quantitative and Theoretical Biology

Welcome to the Institute of Quantitative and Theoretical Biology at Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf. Our research focuses on the development of theoretical concepts and mathematical models of biological processes. Current scientific interests are photosynthesis, plant energy metabolism, secondary plant metabolism, the interaction between microbes and photosynthetic organisms and polymer biochemistry.

We are the Coordinator of Accliphot
  • AccliPhot

    AccliPhot is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the European Commission. The project has started on the 1st October 2012.

    The main research aim of AccliPhot is to investigate and understand short-term acclimation mechanisms to changes in light conditions in photosynthetic organisms. We study acclimation processes on various scales with experimental and theoretical methods. The investigated scales encompass the molecular signalling mechanisms inducing the responses, the implications for metabolism, and whole-organism behaviour, in particular growth and biomass yield. Our aim is to employ this understanding to optimise and upscale biotechnological exploitation of photosynthetic microalgae for the production of biofuels and high-value commodities.

    Further Information

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We are a Core Group of BioSC
  • BioSC

    Sustainable bioeconomy

    The bioeconomy includes all economic sectors of production, processing and use of biological resources for the manufacture of food and feed, bio-based resources and bioenergy. As a knowledge-based bioeconomy, sustainable use of limited resources must be achieved and solutions for societal challenges such as adapting to climate change must be developed through integrated application of knowledge about biological resources and processes.

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We are part of Ceplas
  • Ceplas

    The Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences is a joint effort of Heinrich Heine University (HHU), University of Cologne (UoC), Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) and Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ).

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Design Starch
  • Design Starch

    Starch is a natural product produced by most land plants and algae with remarkable physico-chemical properties. Starch is composed of two polymers of glucose: amylose, a predominantly linear polymer of α-1,4 linked glucose units, and amylopectin, which also contains α-1,6 linkages (branch points) resulting in a tree-like structure. The simple constituents of starch (one type of monomer and two types of linkages) is contrasted by its complex and highly ordered structure, in which crystalline and amorphous layers alternate in a defined and regular fashion. This structure gives starch unique physicochemical properties, which make it an exceptionally tightly packed energy storage that is of such tremendous importance for the human diet and economy as a whole. Despite decades of intense research, it is still not understood how precisely starch granule biogenesis initiates and progresses. A relatively small number of enzymes are involved, but it is unclear how their activities are coordinated in order to ultimately control the structure and properties of starch. The objective of our project is to gain a profound understanding of the regulation and control of the biophysical and biochemical processes involved in the formation of the complex polymeric structure that is the starch granule. We will apply this understanding to recreate the synthesis of starch in vitro and learn to control its physical and chemical properties in a targeted way. By expressing starch synthesising enzymes in yeast, an organism not natively producing starch, we will design starches with desired properties in vivo. This will be translated back in planta to genetically engineer plants producing starch with desired, pre-defined physico-chemical properties.

    Further Information


Prof. Dr. Oliver Ebenhöh

Gebäude: 25.32
Etage/Raum: 03.22
Tel.: +49 211 81-10172
Fax: +49 211 81-15563


Mara Schuff

Gebäude: 25.32
Etage/Raum: 03.24
Tel.: +49 211 81-12923
Fax: +49 211 81-15563

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