Prestigious Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellowships awarded to Florent Waltz

A key mission of the Foundation is to “promote outstandingly qualified researchers and future leaders from science-related fields with the aim of creating a world-spanning collaborative network of excellence.”


Florent Waltz, a postdoc in the lab of Ben Engel now received one of these prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellowships. Building upon the foundation’s belief that “individual creativity is an indispensable prerequisite for gaining scientific knowledge”, Florent, a mitochondria enthusiast, will follow his very own scientific vision.

He is dedicated to explore these powerhouses of the cell throughout the tree of life, and particularly in photosynthetic organisms. His goal is to understand the structural and functional diversity of the main mitochondrial molecular complexes involved in gene expression and energy metabolism.

Florent will use the power of cryo-ET and adopt a multiscale approach, ranging from genetics to structural biology to explore the native mitochondria architecture and the organization of mitochondrial complexes in diverse photosynthetic organisms to unravel conserved and species-specific features of mitochondrial gene expression, also from an evolutionary perspective. He will then analyse the 3D visualization of mitochondrial complexes with image processing pipelines developed in the Engel lab.

 “Plants and algae are important models because they make, by far, the largest biomass of eukaryotes on Earth. They are the primary source of all food, and plant molecules provide 80% of currently available drugs. I am thrilled that the Humboldt Foundation acknowledges the potential of my planned research and with the funds provided, allows me to join a pioneering lab, which gives me an excellent foundation for an independent career at the forefront of mitochondria research”, states Florent.

With Florent Waltz, we see a prime example of an outstanding and aspiring young scientist who lives the mission of the Humboldt foundation at its fullest. Congratulations on this great achievement!

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation sponsors scientists, irrespective of their discipline or nationality. The individual sponsorship of outstandingly qualified scientists as well as future leaders from science-related fields is intended to create a globally cooperating network of excellence. Sponsored scientists are supported by the Foundation for the rest of their lives.