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Ute Höcker

Position: Professor

eMail: hoeckeru(at)

phone: 0221-470-6897

To see Ute Höcker's CV, klick on the following link: CV

Christian Schenkel

Position: Technichal Assistant

eMail: cschenke(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477

As technician I support the group as much as possible. Ordering, checking bills, preparing competent cells, and keeping our cell cultures alive are my common tasks.
Additionally, I support individual lab members in their projects, but I hope to pursue my own project in the future as well.

Outside the lab, I enjoy my free time by learning languages, playing video games and playing trading card games with friends.

Martina Reiter

Position: Secretary

eMail: mreiter1(at)

phone: 0221-470-1138

Jathish Ponnu

Position: Postdoctoral fellow

eMail: jponnu(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477

I am broadly interested in elucidating the interactions between COP1/SPA complex and photoreceptors, in mechanistic details. 

Oliver Artz

Position: Ph.D. Student

eMail: oartz(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477 

The COP1/SPA complex has evolved to be one of the most important regulators of plant growth and development in response to light. I want to understand the evolutionary conservation of the complex. To this end, I take a closer look at early diverging land plants like the moss Physcomitrella patens and the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha. I investigate whether these organisms have a functional COP1/SPA complex and to what extent it is involved in light signal transduction.

When I am not in the lab, I like going to the gym and travel to as many interesting places as my salary allows.

Tobias Schenk

Position: Ph.D. Student

eMail: tschenk3(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477

The SPA2 protein shows the largest difference in activity between dark and light grown seedlings and makes it a particularly attractive SPA protein to study. I’m interested in the functional and mechanistic analysis of light induced SPA2 degradation and COP1/SPA inactivation.

Konstantin Kerner

Position: Ph.D. Student

eMail: kernerk(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477

One of my projects addresses the question why SPA proteins are required for the correct functionality of the E3 ubiquitin ligase COP1. a prominent hypothesis is that SPAs facilitate cooperativity between COP1 and a member of the CUL4/DDB1 E3 ligase complex, DDB1. I am using triple interaction assays as well as genetic and bioinformatic approaches to investigate this hypothesis. I am also investigating whether WD repeat domains of COP1 and SPA1 are interchangeable in regarding their functionality by generating domain-swapped transgenic lines. This could potentially provide valuable insights into the specific interactions of COP1 and SPA1 with their interaction partners.

Apart from science, I enjoy my spare time by longboarding and reading graphic novels.

Melanie Kreiss

Position: Ph.D. Student

eMail: melanie.kreiss(at)

phone: 0221-470-2477