Dr. Martin Zauser

Project: Tracking of Calcium Waves in Plant Roots

Plants respond to a sudden change of environmental conditions and bacterial challenges by increased activity of intracellular signaling by calcium ions (Ca2+). For the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana it could be shown that Ca2+ signals propagate in waves through the root and show stimulus-specific signatures, if the plant is stimulated by salt or bacterial peptides.
We investigate the propagation of Ca2+ signaling waves through the root by applying mathematical and computational methods. The aim is to understand how cell-to-cell communication works in plants and how they encode and decode stimulus-specific information in these Ca2+ waves.
We analyze time-lapse movies of the root after stimulation with an external stimulus to determine characteristic parameters like start time, duration and intensity of the signaling. For this purpose, we implemented an automated image analysis to quantify the intracellular Ca2+ signaling.

This research project is a joint project between the Grossmann lab at COS in Heidelberg (www.grossmann-lab.org – now at Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf: https://www.icib.hhu.de/) and our group. My work focuses on the software development for the image processing, the cellular automaton modeling and the data analysis. I am coding scripts in the programming languages R, MATLAB and C/C++.

Time-space diagram of the intracellular calcium concentration along the axis of the plant root after stimulating with the fungal cell wall component C8.

Funding and Supervision

My project is funded by the Innovation Fund FRONTIER (German Excellence Initiative) and by the BIOMS (Center for Modelling and Simulations in the Biosciences) program. Supervision is granted by Dr. Jürgen Pahle (Heidelberg University) and Prof. Ursula Kummer (Heidelberg University).




  • P. Neubert, A. Halim, M. Zauser, A. Essig, H.J. Joshi, E. Zatorska, I.S.B. Larsen, M. Loibl, J. Castells-Ballester, M. Aebi, H. Clausen and S. Strahl (2016)
    Mapping the O-mannose glycoproteome in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
    Molecular & Cellular Proteomicsdoi:10.1074/mcp.M115.057505

Short CV

since 2016PhD student in the Biological Information Processing (BIP) Group, Heidelberg University
2013‑2015Master of Science (MSc) Molecular Biosciences, Systems Biology, Heidelberg University
2010‑2013Bachelor of Science (BSc) Biowissenschaften, Heidelberg University


BQ47, BioQuant
Im Neuenheimer Feld 267
69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Email: martin.zauser[at]bioquant.uni-heidelberg.de
Phone: +49 (0) 6221-54-51328
Room: 442