Bio Matters: German scientist flourishes as researcher at Noble Foundation

Jim Stafford: Wolf Scheible earned a reputation as a world-class scientist before his journey to Ardmore to work at the Noble Foundation.
By Jim Stafford Published: December 15, 2013
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Long before Wolf Scheible accepted a position as principal investigator for The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in 2012, he knew the Foundation by its reputation for groundbreaking work in plant genomics.

“The Noble Foundation is known all over the world for its plant research,” Scheible told me during a visit to the Ardmore campus. “The Foundation offers researchers so many advantages — tremendous facilities, unparalleled support and two other divisions that can move research from the laboratory to the field.”

A native of Germany, Scheible is a biochemist and molecular biologist who established his own reputation for world class research as a scientist in the Max Planck Society, the country's most prestigious research institution.

Scheible's journey to Ardmore was influenced by a former Max Planck colleague, Michael Udvardi, who made the move to the Noble Foundation in 2006. Udvardi is now the director of the Noble Foundation's Plant Biology Division.

“Michael is my good friend,” Scheible said. “We had a lot of common interests, and we published many papers together.”

Scheible's research focuses on how plants efficiently use nutrients, especially phosphorous. He earned a Ph.D. at the University of Heidelberg and served a post-doctorate fellowship at Stanford University in the late 1990s.

“Phosphorous is an essential element for life”, Scheible said. “There is no other element on the planet that can replace phosphorous and you can't produce food without it. And phosphorous is in short supply.”

Scheible called the shrinking supply of phosphorous a crisis for every person in the world, whether they know it or not. Most Americans only know of phosphorous because they see it on the fertilizer aisle at their local lawn supply store.

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Jim Stafford is Communications Specialist with i2E Inc. in Oklahoma City.

If you can identify a specific regulatory molecule which is important for changing root growth, then we can change the root system. We basically want to generate desired root traits that can benefit agriculture.”

Wolf Scheible,

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