Pecinka lab:Bjoern Pietzenuk

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Björn was a Ph.D. student and later post-doctoral researcher in the Group for Genetic and Epigenetic evolution at Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research under the supervision of Ales Pecinka. His research was focused on the genetic and epigenetic evolution of transposable elements in Brassicaceae species under natural and challenging conditions. He is further very interested in the function, evolution, contribution and influence of TEs on gene regulation, genome stability and evolution as well as the molecular evolution of photoautrotroph organisms in general.

Currently he works as a post doctoral researcher in the Lab of Ute Krämer at the Ruhr-University Bochum. Here he uses his expertise to investigate heavy metal tolerance and homeostasis in higher plants.

Contact Info

Björn Pietzenuk (2016)
  • B. Pietzenuk
  • Department of Plant Physiology
  • Ruhr-University Bochum
  • Universitätsstraße 150
  • 44801 Bochum; Germany
  • +49
  • Contact


  • Currently Post-doctoral Researcher; Department of Plant Physiology; Ruhr-University Bochum
  • Nov. 2015 - Feb. 2016 Post-Doctoral Researcher; Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research Advisor: Ales Pecinka
  • Ph.D. in Biology (Botany) from the University of Cologne; Thesis: Repeated Evolution of Heat Responsiveness in Brassicaceae COPIA Transposable Elements
  • 2011 - 2015 PhD Student, Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research Advisor: Ales Pecinka
  • 2011, Diploma in Biology, Institute of Botany Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf; Advisor: Prof. Dr. Margarete Baier

Research topics and interests

Björn´s scientific interests spans from the origin of life to the evolution and natural variation of photoautotroph organisms. This led him to do his PhD on a topic regarding genome and epigenome evolution under ambient and challenging conditions. With this, he was introduced into the role of transposable elements in genome maintenance and evolution. During the work on his Ph.D. he got more and more interested in TEs and their function, evolution, contribution and influence on genome stability and evolution. Further, he is very interested in the regulation of genes and TE´s under challenging natural conditions.

Beside that, he has an outstanding interest and expertise in human physiology and metabolism. Here he is very interested in muscular and metabolic function, regulation and diseases. He likes to understand the function of steroids, supplements and drugs on muscular and metabolic function. Thereby, he is interested in how abuse of these can lead to muscular and metabolic dysfunction. During his work as a passionated plant scientist, he likes to stay informed and educated in this field as well.

  • current research: "Evolution and epigenetic regulation of Transposable Elements in Brassicaceae"
  • Ph.D.-thesis: "Repeated evolution of heat responsivness among Brassicaceae COPIA transposable elements"
  • Diplomathesis: "Natural variation and its constraints: Comparison of chloroplast ascorbate peroxidases in higher plants"


It is and was always a pleasure for me to teach young students. During my studies I have had numerous possibilities to do so and getting experience. In my opinion, it is always necessary to do science and also teach new students in theory and practice.

  • supervision of bachelor student in applied evolutionary biology (computer based approaches) at the Max-Planck-Institute of Plant Breeding Research (2015)
  • Tutor in a practical course of “functional anatomy and morphology of plants” (WS

05/06, WS 06/07, WS 07/08, WS 08/09 and WS 09/10 at HHU Düsseldorf)

  • Tutor in “functional anatomy and morphology of plants (cytology, histology and organs of cormophyta)” and “systematic botany” (WS 2008/2009 at HHU Düsseldorf)
  • Tutor in a practical course of Modul Bio 7 about DNA fingerprinting, cloning and plasmid restriction (SS 2008/2009 at HHU Düsseldorf)
  • Tutor in a practical course of Modul Bio 3 “zoology – strains of animals” (SS 2010 at HHU Düsseldorf)


  • Pietzenuk et al. (2016) Recurrent evolution of heat-responsiveness in Brassicaceae COPIA elements (under revision)
  • Rawat V, Abdelsamad A, Pietzenuk B, Seymour DK, Koenig D, et al. (2015) Improving the Annotation of Arabidopsis lyrata Using RNA-Seq Data. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0137391. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137391
  • Jusczack I, Rudnik R, Pietzenuk B, Baier M Natural genetic variation in the expression regulation of the chloroplast antioxidant system among Arabidopsis thaliana accessions. Physiologica Plantarum doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2012.01602.x (2012). [1]