The University of Zurich

Ueli GrossniklausProfessor Ueli Grossniklaus

Principal Investigator

Professor Ueli Grossniklaus is the Group Leader and Director of the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at The University of Zurich.  He is a developmental geneticist interested in elucidating the genetic and molecular basis of plant reproduction. He is an internationally renowned expert on signaling during fertilisation and epigenetic aspects of seed development but has also worked on apomixis for over 25 years. In his research, he employs natural apomicts as well as the genetic models maize and Arabidopsis to develop tools for the engineering of apomixis, efforts that resulted in a proof-of-concept for producing clonal seeds in maize.


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Nina ChumakDr Nina Chumak

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Nina Chumak is a molecular geneticist with an interest in plant development and crop improvement. She obtained her PhD from the Gregor Mendel Institute in Vienna, Austria, working on the epigenetic regulation of pollen development, before she joined the University of Zurich. She is a highly experienced maize geneticist and characterized the non-reduction in female4 mutant that was used to generate - in combination with genome elimination - the first clonal seeds in maize.

Stefano BencivengaDr Stephano Bencivenga

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Stephano Bencivenga is a molecular biologist who has worked on diverse aspects of plant development. He obtained his PhD from the Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy, investigating the role of auxin and cytokinin during ovule development. After a postdoc at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK, where he worked on stem cell development in Arabidopsis and on yield gain in wheat, he joined the University of Zurich on a Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellowship.

Yetkin Caka InceDr Yetkin Caka Ince

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Yetkin Caka Ince is a molecular biologist interested in plant photobiology, development and regeneration. He obtained his PhD from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, where he studied the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of plant growth upon changes in light properties. After a brief postdoctoral extension to complete his work in Lausanne, he joined the Hy-Gain team at the University of Zurich.

Estanislao BurgosDr Estanislao Burgos

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Estanislao Burgos is a quantitative geneticist with an interest in epigenetics and crop improvement. He obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, working on genetic and epigenetic determinants of vitamin E content in tomato. As an experienced geneticist and bioinformatician, he contributes to various aspects of the Hy-Gain project at the University of Zurich.

Ramona HartmannRamona Hartmann

Research Technician

Ramona Hartmann is a technical assistant who has worked in chemical process and analytical method development. She obtained a BSc degree in Bioanalytics and Cell Biology from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Northwestern Switzerland, and worked on the molecular basis of interspecific cross-incompatibility for her BSc thesis. She joined the University of Zurich to support the Hy-Gain team in September 2021.

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