Caroline Gutjahr initially conducted research in Italy and Switzerland, later as a group leader at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and as a professor of plant genetics at the Technical University of Munich. Since February 2023, Caroline Gutjahr has been Director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, where she heads the Department of "Root Biology and Symbiosis".
The interaction between soil fungi and plant roots - a symbiosis called mycorrhiza - is of great importance for the growth and health of plants. Caroline Gutjahr is researching which molecular factors influence the formation and function of the mycorrhiza.
Central research questions are whether and how the formation of the symbiosis is influenced by environmental factors and which molecules play a decisive role in this. The scientist is also investigating whether these findings can be used to breed crops with an optimised mycorrhiza. In doing so, Caroline Gutjahr is doing pioneering work, because she is not only focusing on the molecular processes in the plant, but also wants to analyse the fungi, which have hardly been studied so far, in more detail.