This page is only available in German.

Fellow-Klasse 2021-2022Prof. Dr. Alexis Maizel

Arbeitsvorhaben am Marsilius-Kolleg

Building robust communities: embracing complexity and diversity

Robustness is the ability, for a community, to withstand or overcome adverse conditions. Whereas what defines and makes communities robust is studied in different disciplines, there are few interdisciplinary approaches aiming at comparing how, across scales, simi-larities in building robust communities exist. Here, we propose to form a team to identify whether there are commonalities and differences in the way communities as seen by a biologist (molecules, cells, organisms), an ethnologist (structured social groups, cities) and an economist (rational economic actors) achieve a robust organisation to ensure their cohesion and function in face of disruptive events. Our work will focus on the ad-vantages/disadvantages of diversity and complex connectivity for the emergence of a robust community. We will examine these concepts in state-of-the-art work within our se-lected fields, consider the limits and potential of these concepts and compare them across disciplines. While this project has connections to the flashship initiative Transfor-ming Cultural Heritage, it also links, albeit secondarily, to the Engineering Molecular Sys-tem one.

Porträt Alexis Maizel Fellow 2021/22 Hochkant


  • since 2020 Professor (W3) for Plant Cell and Developmental Biology, Heidelberg University
  • 2015-2020 Professor (W2) for plant biology. Heidelberg University (Germany).
  • 2010-2015 Independent Research Group Leader. CellNetworks Cluster of Excellence & Centre for Organismal Studies, Heidelberg University (Germany).
  • 2006-2020 Chargé de Recherche (CR1). CNRS Plant Sciences Institute, UPR2355, Gif-sur-Yvette (France)
  • 2005 Post-doc. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (USA).
  • 2002-2005 Post-doc. Department of Molecular Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen (Germany) and Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla (USA).
  • 1998-2002 Graduate student. CNRS, UMR8542, École Normale Supérieure, Paris (France).

Ausgewählte Publikationen


Maizel, A., Busch, M.A., Tanahashi, T., Perkovic, J., Kato, M., Hasebe, M., and Weigel, D. (2005). The Floral Regulator LEAFY Evolves by Substitutions in the DNA Binding Domain. Science 308: 260–263.

Vermeer, J.E.M., Wangenheim, D. von, Barberon, M., Lee, Y., Stelzer, E.H.K., Maizel, A., and Geldner, N. (2014). A Spatial Accommodation by Neighboring Cells Is Required for Organ Initiation in Arabidopsis. Science 343: 178–183.

Marin, E., Jouannet, V., Herz, A., Lokerse, A.S., Weijers, D., Vaucheret, H., Nussaume, L., Crespi, M.D., and Maizel, A. (2010). miR390, Arabidopsis TAS3 tasiRNAs, and their AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR targets define an autoregulatory network quantitatively regulating lateral root growth. Plant Cell 22: 1104–1117.

von Wangenheim, D., Fangerau, J., Schmitz, A., Smith, R.S., Leitte, H., Stelzer, E.H.K., and Maizel, A. (2016). Rules and Self-Organizing Properties of Post-embryonic Plant Organ Cell Division Patterns. Curr. Biol. 26: 439–449.

Vilches Barro, A., Stöckle, D., Thellmann, M., Ruiz-Duarte, P., Bald, L., Louveaux, M., von Born, P., Denninger, P., Goh, T., Fukaki, H., Vermeer, J.E.M., and Maizel, A. (2019). Cytoskeleton Dynamics Are Necessary for Early Events of Lateral Root Initiation in Arabidopsis. Curr. Biol. 29: 2443–2454.e5.

Maizel, A., von Wangenheim, D., Federici, F., Haseloff, J., and Stelzer, E.H.K. (2011). High-resolution live imaging of plant growth in near physiological bright conditions using light sheet fluorescence microscopy. Plant J. 68: 377–385.

von Wangenheim, D., Banda, J., Schmitz, A., Boland, J., Bishopp, A., Maizel, A., Stelzer, E.H.K., and Bennett, M. (2020). Early developmental plasticity of lateral roots in response to asymmetric water availability. Nature Plants.

Jouannet, V., Moreno, A.B., Elmayan, T., Vaucheret, H., Crespi, M.D., and Maizel, A. (2012). Cytoplasmic Arabidopsis AGO7 accumulates in membrane-associated siRNA bodies and is required for ta-siRNA biogenesis. EMBO J. 31: 1704–1713.

Lucas, M. et al. (2013). Lateral root morphogenesis is dependent on the mechanical properties of the overlaying tissues. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 110: 5229–5234.

Maizel, A., Tassetto, M., Filhol, O., Cochet, C., Prochiantz, A., and Joliot, A. (2002). Engrailed homeoprotein secretion is a regulated process. Development 129: 3545–3553


Prof. Dr. alexis maizel

Fakultät für Biowissenschaften
Center for Organismal Studies
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
E-Mail: alexis.maizel@cos.uni-heidelberg.de