Dr Detlef Weigel is a world-renowned plant biologist and currently director of the Department of Molecular Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen.
Working with the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana, Dr Weigel has made seminal contributions to our understanding of the onset of flowering, but also flower development itself, notably with the discovery of the flower regulator LEAFY and the flower inducer FT. Furthermore, Dr Weigel demonstrated the importance of microRNAs for plant development notably by isolating the first microRNA mutant in Arabidopsis.
More recently, Dr Weigel has pioneered the use of massively parallel sequencing (Illumina) to study genetic variation in the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana and to address more general plant evolution issues. Dr Weigel's group built the first haplotype map outside mammals and generated comprehensive whole-genome databases for numerous Arabidopsis accessions (e.g. the 1001 Genomes project). This notably allowed the research community to conduct genome-wide association studies (GWAS). More recently, Dr Weigel's group has become interested in how epistatic interactions lead to plant autoimmune responses (hybrid necrosis).