Public Events, Outcomes and Publications

Public Events

Within the PhD Program Science & Policy, the PSC organizes various workshops and panel discussions. These events are open to everyone and provide an opportunity for the PhD students to interact with experts at the interface of science and policy.


Topic Date

IDP BRIDGES – Final Event

Bridging Science and Policy Flyer (PDF, 761 KB)



Special Seminar on Tef - the Cereal that feeds Ethiopia, including public discussion Flyer (PDF, 1005 KB) October 2016
EUCARPIA 20th General Congress - Panel Discussion on "Innovation vs. Regulation", extended public discussion, moderated by Tim Sykes Program (PDF, 778 KB)

September 2016

Plant Sciences, Patents and Food Security Panel Discussion with invited speakers October 2015
Science in policy on the use of systemic pesticides Panel Discussion with invited experts November 2014
Symposium cum Workshop on Participatory Research to foster Innovation in Agriculture co-organisation with the FiBL (Research Institute for Organic Agriculture)



PSC-Mercator Think Tank Event Workshop on Research Impact





• Patents and Spin-offs

Michael and his supervisor Etienne Bucher successfully applied for the patent on “MOBILISATION OF TRANSPOSABLE ELEMENTS TO ENHANCE GENETIC AND EPIGENETIC VARIABILITY IN A POPULATION”. Etienne Bucher launched the spin-off "epibreed AG" based on the patent and received the ERC Consolidator grant "BUNGEE: Directed crop breeding using jumping genes" (Project # 725701)

• Awards and Prizes

Lukas won a award for his poster on "How reliable are microbial inoculants in agriculture for improving nutrient use efficiency and yield? – A meta‐analysis of field studies from 1981 to 2015 (PDF, 2 MB)" at the 19th Organic World Congress of the International Society of Organic Agriculture (2017, ISOFAR) in Delhi, India

Lukas won the Biosyneterra price for best oral presentation by a graduate student with emphasis on applied research and innovative/industrial applications of mycorrhizas at 9th International Conference on Mycorrhiza (2017, ICOM) in Prague, Czech Republic

• Web articles and Reports

Tim contributed to the new EASAC report on genome editing advises European policy-makers on how to approach ground-breaking research on plants, animals, microbes and humans (2017)

Michaels' project was presented in an article on "Hitze lässt ONSEN hüpfen - Retrotransposonen kontrolliert zum Springen bringen" (August 2017)

The Centro Regional de Estudios en Alimentos y Salud (CREAS) published an articles about Guillaumes' work in Chile "Experto francés estudia el crecimiento y propiedades bioactivas de la papa nativa sometida a estrés hídrico" on

The Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center published proceedings with contribution of Guillaume and Lukas: PSC Summer Schools 2014 and 2016. Agriculture in transformation – Concepts for agriculture production systems that are socially fair, environmentally safe and economically viable. Melanie Paschke (ed.), IDEA Verlag GmbH, ISBN 978-3-88793-257-2

• Blogs and Media Releases

Yuanyuan published a Science article (see below) about her results from the Chinese-German-Swiss research project “BEF China” which received great attention by UZH media, Deutschen Zentrums für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv), EurekAlert, ibcas news, South China Morning Post. There were many discussions on Reddit.

The scientific article on biofertilization written by Lukas has been highlighted by an press release on "Bodenmikroben statt Dünger (PDF, 337 KB)" published by FiBL and the University of Basel (February 2018)

Devang published articles on "Writing Our Genome", "Writing Our Genome-II ", "Rewriting our food supply", "A call to arms" and "Dangers of our own creation" for is personal blog; articles on "Synbio and Biosecurity" and "Geoengineering and Synthetic Biology" on PLOS Blogs, articles on "Inside the effort to create entire genomes from scratch" and "This biologist believes we should embrace human gene editing" for the Massive blog, an article on "Nobel Prizes Should Reward Science, Not Scientists" for the Slate blog and an article summarizing the panel discussion of the PSC PhD Symposium 2016 on "Synthetic biology for natural products" on the PSC Science and Policy Blog "Engaging in a science and policy dialogue"

Yuanyuan established a blog about the Chinese-German-Swiss research project “BEF China” which established a large forest Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning (BEF) experiment - Read more about it on the Blog

An article on "Indo-Swiss Coffee Connections" has been published on the SWISSNEX India blog as well as on the World Economic Forum Blog. This article is based on the participatory workshop "Perceiving the future of Kodagu landscape: Coffee, Shade trees and Bees" in India (Charlotte).

An article on "Beekeeping to prevent the pollination problem?" written by Charlotte has been published on the ETH Zukunftsblog in January 2016.

Guillaume published three media releases, for example via El Informador, about his project and the corresponding work in Chile (2016)

Claudia Hahn wrote for the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center recommendations for a more sustainable fodder production with changing climate (2012).

• Exhibitions and Fairs

Devang, Wuyan and Sofia participated at Scientifica 2015 informing the public about " Vom Licht zur Nahrung" and "Der Weg zur 3D-Pflanzenzelle im Licht des Mikroskops"

Charlotte presented at Science on Your Plate - ETH Zurich researchers collaborating with the university’s World Food System Center presented at the opening ceremony of Zurich week in the Swiss Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015

Silvia presented her work at „Uni-Nacht: Lange Nacht der Wissenschaft“ (2015) organized by the University of Basel. Here, presentations take place at 15 locations and comprise 250 presentations in diverse forms. Scientists provide insights to their work and research.

Sofia presented her work to the public as well as scientists at the "Frühlingsfest" (2015) organized by the Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich

• Further Formats

Interview with Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schmid (Supervisor Of Yuanyuan) on "Experiences in a Long-Term International Research Project" published by SWISSNEX China

Yuanyuan attended the workshop "Story boarding Science: Interdisciplinary Workshop for Scientists and Filmmakers" (Nov 2016) - see the  Video produced by course participants that shows how climate change affects ecology

Syngenta Foundation supports the University of Berne (incl. Wuyans project) in the development of dwarf tef plants. The aim is to raise the yields of this important cereal for Ethiopia. Watch their film about the tef project, released in April 2016.

Lukas presented experiments during a school class training (PSC Discovery workshop, Topic: Mykorrhiza – Ein Pilz gegen den Welthunger?! in 2015. This has been included in the magazine “Forscherheft” on Symbiose – Mykorrhiza

Yuanyuan was holding the school class workshop «I love forest» for a primary school in the BEF-China experimental area, Xingangshan, JiangXi province, China (2014)

Yuanyuan contributed to a “Plant Science at School workshop”. A continuing education program for Secondary School Teachers, which is organized and executed by the PSC. She introduced secondary school class teachers to the topic of “Diversity and productivity in subtropical forests –fixing carbon to mitigate climate change” and supported the PSC lecturers with the training in plant ecophysiology experiments at the Institute of Plant Sciences in Berne (May 2016).

Claudia contributed to a “Plant Science at School workshop” on “Den Puls der Pflanzen fühlen”. She introduced secondary school class teachers to “Seasonal effects of drought on the productivity of temperate grassland species” at the Institute of Plant Sciences in Berne (May 2015).

Charlotte attended the Global landscape forum, Paris, France and its exchange forum on sustainable practices in forestry, agriculture, climate change, food security, finance (Side events of the UNFCCC COP21 (2015).

Charlotte led a stakeholder Workshop in Bittangala, Kodagu District, India. The objective of the workshop was to engage a discussion with the stakeholders on the future of coffee landscapes and their perceptions of ecosystem services (2016).


Tracey Weissgerber , Yaw Bediako, Charlotte M de Winde, Hedyeh Ebrahimi, Florencia Fernández-Chiappe, Vinodh Ilangovan, Devang Mehta, Carolina Paz Quezada, Julia L Riley, Shyam M Saladi, Sarvenaz Sarabipour, Andy Tay (2020). Point of View: Mitigating the impact of conference and travel cancellations on researchers’ futures. eLife, 9, e57032.10.7554/eLife.57032

Chen, Y., Huang, Y., Niklaus, P. A., Castro-Izaguirre, N., Clark, A. T., Bruelheide, H., ... & Schmid, B. (2020). Directed species loss reduces community productivity in a subtropical forest biodiversity experiment. Nature ecology & evolution, 1-10.10.1038/s41559-020-1127-4

Ferrafiat, L., Pflieger, D., Singh, J., Thieme, M., Böhrer, M., Himber, C., ... & Blevins, T. (2019). The NRPD1 N-terminus contains a Pol IV-specific motif that is critical for genome surveillance in Arabidopsis. Nucleic acids research, 47(17), 9037-9052.10.1093/nar/gkz618

Massart, S., Chiumenti, M., De Jonghe, K., Glover, R., Haegeman, A., Koloniuk, I., Turco, S., ... & Maclot, F. (2019). Virus detection by high-throughput sequencing of small RNAs: Large-scale performance testing of sequence analysis strategies. Phytopathology, 109(3), 488-497.10.1094/PHYTO-02-18-0067-R.

Paschke M. and Zurgilgen K. (2019) Science-policy boundary work by early-stage researchers: Recommendations for teaching, internships and knowledge transfer. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 28 (3), 310-315. 10.3929/ethz-b-000374028

Bruelheide H., Chen Y., Huang Y., Ma K., Niklaus P.A., Schmid B. (2019) Response to Comment on “Impacts of species richness on productivity in a large-scale subtropical forest experiment”, Science, 11. Jan 2019. 10.1126/science.aav9863

Mehta D., Stürchler A., Anjanappa R.B., Shan-e-Ali Zaidi S., Hirsch-Hoffmann M., Gruissem W., Vanderschuren H. (2019) Linking CRISPR-Cas9 interference in cassava to the evolution of editing-resistant geminiviruses. Genome Biology, 2019. Vol. 20, 80 10.1186/s13059-019-1678-3

Pavageau, C., Gaucherel, C., Garcia, C., & Ghazoul, J. (2018). Nesting sites of giant honeybees modulated by landscape patterns. Journal of applied ecology, 55(3), 1230-1240.

Thieme, M., & Bucher, E. (2018). Transposable elements as tool for crop improvement. In Advances in Botanical Research (Vol. 88, pp. 165-202). Academic Press.10.1016/bs.abr.2018.09.001

Begheyn, R. F., Yates, S. A., Sykes, T., & Studer, B. (2018). Genetic loci governing androgenic capacity in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 8(6), 1897-1908.10.1534/g3.117.300550

Cannarozzi, G., Chanyalew, S., Assefa, K., Bekele, A., Blösch, R., Weichert, A., Wang W., ... & Rindisbacher, A. (2018). Technology generation to dissemination: lessons learned from the tef improvement project. Euphytica, 214(2), 31.10.1007/s10681-018-2115-5

Huang Y., Ma K., Niklaus P.A., Schmid B. (2018) Leaf-litter overyielding in a forest biodiversity experiment in subtropical China. Journal of Plant Ecology Vol 5, Issue 38 10.1186/s40663-018-0157-8

Liu, X., Trogisch, S., He, J. S., Niklaus, P. A., Bruelheide, H., Tang, Z., Huang Y., ... & Kühn, P. (2018). Tree species richness increases ecosystem carbon storage in subtropical forests. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 285(1885), 20181240.10.1098/rspb.2018.1240

Thieme M. and Bucher E. (2018) Chapter Six - Transposable Elements as Tool for Crop Improvement. In: Plant Epigentics Coming of Age for Breeding Applications. Advances in Botanical Research, Vol. 88, 165-202 10.1016/bs.abr.2018.09.001

Turco S., Golyaev V., Seguin J., Gilli C., Farinelli L., Boller T., Schumpp O., Pooggin M.M. (2018) Small RNA-Omics for Virome Reconstruction and Antiviral Defense Characterization in Mixed Infections of Cultivated Solanum Plants. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, Vol 31:707-723. 10.1094/MPMI-12-17-0301-R

Wang W., Hostettler C., Damberger F., Kossmann J., Lloyd J., Zeeman S. (2018) Modification of cassava root starch phosphorylation enhances starch functional properties. Frontiers in Plant Science, 9:1562. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.0156

Mehta D., Hirsch-Hoffmann M., Were M., Patrignani A., Shan-e-Ali Zaidi S., Were H., Gruissem W., Vanderschuren H. (2018) A new full-length circular DNA sequencing method for viral-sized genomes reveals that RNAi transgenic plants provoke a shift in geminivirus populations in the field. Nucleic Acids Research, October, 2018. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky914

D. Mehta (2018) Lab heads should learn to talk about racism. Nature, Editorial, Vol. 559, Issue 153 10.1038/d41586-018-05646-4

Krishna S., Schütz, L., Kahmen, A., Wiemken, A., Boller. T., Mathimaran, N. (2018) Finger millet growth and nutrient uptake is improved in intercropping with pigeon pea through “biofertilization” and “bioirrigation” mediated by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria. Frontiers in Environmental Sciences, June, 2018, doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2018.00046

D. Mehta (2018) The Green Revolution did not increase poverty and hunger for millions. Nature, Correspondence, Vol. 4, Issue 736 10.1038/s41477-018-0240-8

Cannarozzi G. et al. Technology generation to dissemination: lessons learned
from the tef improvement project. Euphytica (2018) 214:31.

Pavageau, C., Gaucherel, C., Garcia, C., Ghazoul, J. (2018) Nesting sites of giant honey bees modulated by landscape patterns. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.13069

Schütz, L., Gattinger, A., Meier, M., Müller, A., Boller. T., Mäder, P., Mathimaran, N. (2018) Improving Crop Yield and Nutrient Use Efficiency via Biofertilization - A Global Meta-analysis. Frontiers in Plant Sciences, Vol. 8, 2204. doi: 0.3389/fpls.2017.02204

Trogisch, S.; Schuldt, A., Bauhus, J., Blum, J. A., Both, S., Buscot, F., Castro-Izaguirre, N., Chesters, D., Durka, W., Eichenberg, D., Erfmeier, A., Fischer, M., Geißler, C., Germany, M. S., Goebes, P., Gutknecht, J., Hahn, C. Z., Haider, S., Härdtle, W., He, Jin-Sheng, Hector, A., Hönig, L., Huang, Y., Klein, A.-M., Kühn, P., Kunz, M., Leppert, K. N., Li, Y., Liu, X., Niklaus, P. A., Pei, Z., Pietsch, K. A., Prinz, R., Proß, T., Scherer-Lorenzen, M., Schmidt, K., Scholten, T., Seitz, S., Song, Z., Staab, M., von Oheimb, G., Weißbecker, C., Welk, E., Wirth, C., Wubet, T., Yang, B., Yang, X., Zhu, C.-D., Schmid, B.,  Ma, K., Bruelheide, H. (2017) Toward a methodical framework for comprehensively assessing forest multifunctionality. Ecology and Evolution. 00: 1-23. 10.1002/ece3.3488

D. Mehta, R.B. Anjanappa, M.J. Okoniewski, A. Szabelska-Beresewicz, W. Gruissem, H. Vanderschuren (2017) Molecular insights into Cassava brown streak virus susceptibility and resistance by profiling of the early host response. Molecular Plant Pathologhy, 10.1111/mpp.12565

D. Mehta & K. Vavitsas (2017) PhD supervisors: be better mentors. Nature, Correspondence, Vol. 545, Issue 7653, p. 156, 10.1038/545158a

R. Glen Uhrig, P. Schläpfer,, D. Mehta, M. Hirsch-Hoffmann, W. Gruissem (2017) Genome-Scale Analysis of Regulatory Protein Acetylation Enzymes From Photosynthetic Eukaryotes. BMC Genomics, 18: 514, 10.1186/s12864-017-3894-0

Y. Huang ,Y. Ma, K. Zhao, P. A. Niklaus, B. Schmid, Jin-Sheng He (2017) Positive effects of tree species diversity on litterfall quantity and quality along a secondary successional chronosequence in a subtropical forest. Journal of Plant Ecology, Vol. 10 (1), p. 28-35, 10.1093/jpe/rtw115

C. Wang, Y. Ma, S. Trogisch, Y. Huang, Y. Geng, M. Scherer-Lorenzen, J.-S. He (2017) Soil respiration is driven by fine root biomass along a forest chronosequence in subtropical China. Journal of Plant Ecology, Vol. 10 (1), p. 36-46, 10.1093/jpe/rtw044

W. Bu, B. Schmid, X. Liu, Y. Li, W. Härdtle, G. von Oheimb, Y. Liang, Z. Sun, Y. Huang, Y., H. Bruelheide, & K. Ma, (2017) Interspecific and intraspecific variation in specific root length drives aboveground biodiversity effects in young experimental forest stands, Vol. 10 (1), p. 158-169, 10.1093/jpe/rtw096

M. Thieme, S. Lanciano, S. Balzergue, N. Daccord, M. Mirouzem and E. Bucher (2017) Inhibition of RNA polymerase II allows controlled mobilisation of retrotransposons for plant breeding. Genome Biology 18:134, 10.1186/s13059-017-1265-4

C. Gaucherel, C. Pavageau (2017) Abeilles en danger, le café menacé. La Recherche, Février 2017, No. 520, p. 68-70.

T. Sykes, S. Yates, I. Nagy, T. Asp, I. Small, B. Studer (2017) In-silico identification of candidate genes for fertility restoration in cytoplasmic male sterile perennial ryegrass ( Lolium perenne L.). Genome Biology and Evolution, 351-362, 10.1093/gbe/evw047

Pöll, C. E., Willner, W., & Wrbka, T. (2016). Challenging the practice of biodiversity offsets: ecological restoration success evaluation of a large-scale railway project. Landscape and ecological engineering, 12(1), 85-97.10.1007/s11355-015-0282-2

M. Awlia, A  Nigro, J. Fajkus, S. M. Schmoeckel, S. Negrão, D. Santelia, M. Trtílek, M. Tester, M. M. Julkowska and K. Panzarová (2016) High-Throughput Non-destructive Phenotyping of Traits that Contribute to Salinity Tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana. Frontiers in Plant Sciences, Vol. 7, 1414, 10.3389/fpls.2016.01414

A. S. Zvereva, V. Golyaev, S. Turco, E. G. Gubaeva, R. Rajeswaran, M. V. Schepetilnikov, O.Srour, L. A. Ryabova, T. Boller, M. M. Pooggin (2016) Viral protein suppresses oxidative burst and salicylic acid-dependent autophagy and facilitates bacterial growth on virus-infected plants. New Phytologist, Vol. 211/Issue 3, 10.1111/nph.13967

R. B. Anjanappa, D. Mehta, M. N. Maruthi  E. Kanju, W. Gruissem, H. Vanderschuren (2016) Characterization of Brown Streak Virus–Resistant Cassava. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, Vol. 29/Issue 7. 527-534, 10.1094/MPMI-01-16-0027-R

A. M. Pereira, M. S. Nobre, S. C. Pinto, A. L. Lopes, M. L. Costa, S. Masiero, S. Coimbra (2016) “Love Is Strong, and You're so Sweet”: JAGGER Is Essential for Persistent Synergid Degeneration and Polytubey Block in Arabidopsis thaliana. Molecular Plant, Vol. 9/Issue 4, 601-614, 10.1016/j.molp.2016.01.002.

D. Horrer, S. Flütsch, D. Pazmino, J. S.A. Matthews, M. Thalmann, A. Nigro, N. Leonhardt, T. Lawson, D.Santelia (2016) Blue Light Induces a Distinct Starch Degradation Pathway in Guard Cells for Stomatal Opening. Current Biology, Vol. 26/Issue 3, 10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.036

M. Thalmann, D. Pazmino, D. Seung, D. Horrer, A. Nigro, T. Meier, K. Kölling, H. W. Pfeifhofer, S. C. Zeeman, D. Santelia (2016) Regulation of Leaf Starch Degradation by Abscisic Acid Is Important for Osmotic Stress Tolerance in Plants. Plant Cell, Vol. 28/Issue 8, 10.1105/tpc.16.00143

C. Karthikeyan, B. L. Patil, B. K. Borah, T. R. Resmi, S. Turco, M. M. Pooggin, T. Hohn, K. Veluthambi (2016) Emergence of a Latent Indian Cassava Mosaic Virus from Cassava Which Recovered from Infection by a Non-Persistent Sri Lankan Cassava Mosaic Virus. Viruses, Vol. 8, 264 10.3390/v8100264

J. Ghazoul, Z. Burivalova, J. Garcia-Ulloa, L. A. King (2015) Conceptualizing forest degradation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution,Volume 30, p622-632, 10.1016/j.tree.2015.08.001

A. M. Pereira, S. Masiero, M. S. Nobre, M. L. Costa, M.-T. Solis, P. S. Testillano, S. Sprunck, S. Coimbra (2014) Differential expression patterns of arabinogalactan proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana reproductive tissues. Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 65/Issue 18, 10.1016/j.tree.2015.08.001