1 Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, Technical University of Denmark2 unknown3 Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark4 Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
The Plant Research Department at Risø National Laboratory has the unique opportunity to be the only life science department located in an environment that is largely dominated by physicists. In 2002 increasing numbers of projects have been initiated thatestablish interdisciplinary research in order to take optimal advantage of the different fields of expertise that are established at Risø National Laboratory. These activities are mainly related to develop novel post-genomic tools to assign function togenes, which are widely applicable in the life sciences. The Plant Research Department applies these and state-of-the-art technologies to increase knowledge to develop crops with improved agronomic traits and to engineer high-value compound containingplants, which are, in addition, able to meet the growth conditions of the future environment with elevated temperatures and increasing carbondioxide and ozone concentrations in the atmosphere. Finally, activities are increasing to establish systems thatoptimize the production of energy from biomass in order to promote sustainability in industrial societies. The department is divided into five research programmes that are linked through their individual expertise delivered to the rest of the department.Three programmes are engaged in improving the agronomic performance of plants. Genetic and molecular genetic tools are developed to enhance the nutrient efficiency of plants, to strengthen the withstanding of plants to fungal attack, or to adapt theflowering time to the optimal use of crops. One programme is devoted to improve the market value of plant products. Plants with enhanced nutritional value or that contain novel renewable resources are designed to add value to the European Agro-Industries.A fifth programme ultimately is studying the effects of the future climate on plant growth, and the performance of newly designed crops and their interaction with the environment. Diverse activities in the area of Functional Genomics integrate thedepartment within itself, within the research environment at Risø National Laboratory, and finally within the Plant Science environment in Denmark and Europe. Each programme covers special expertises in the fields of genome, transcriptome, proteome, andmetabolome analysis, which are delivered throughout the department and to other collaborators. It is unique to The Plant Research Department that these activities are supplemented with a broad expertise in environmental analysis, allowing theinterpretation of large biological data sets in the context of factors affecting plant growth. In order to take optimal advantage of the acquisition of such massive data sets the development of unique bioinformatic tools is required, which is currentlyinitiated through a pilot study in interaction with theoretical biophysicists.