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Dr. Felix P. Frey


Research focus

I am interested in the genetics of abiotic stress tolerance. Currently I’m working on the improvement of cold tolerance in maize using natural variation from neglected European farmers’ maize landraces. Furthermore my interests are the genetic bases of heterosis in crops, tolerance to different abiotic stresses with a focus on applied plant breeding.

Methods I apply are high-throughput phenotyping under controlled stress conditions, transcriptome profiling, QTL mapping & GWAS, functional characterization of mutants and bioinformatics (e.g. R, UNIX).

Prior to my current work I was researching on heat tolerance in European maize, heterosis and inbreeding depression in West African Sorghum and male sterility in barley.

Academic CV

  • Since 2017    
    Postdoctoral researcher “Cold tolerance in maize” collaborative project MAZE
    Crop Functional Genomics, INRES, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelm-University of Bonn

  • 2015 to 2017    
    Postdoctoral researcher “Genetics of stamen maturation in barley”
    Dep. for Plant Breeding, Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne

  • 2011 to 2016    
    PhD study in Agricultural sciences “Heat tolerance in maize”
    Quantitative Crop Genetics, Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne
    Institute for Plant Breeding, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart

  • 2009        
    Diploma thesis “Hybrid breeding in sorghum” GIZ project, ICRISAT, Mali

  • 2009        
    Agricultural sciences, Polytechnical University of Valencia, Spain

  • 2008        
    DAAD scholarship
    Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center, Costa Rica

  • 2004 to 2010    
    Diploma in Agricultural Biology, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart 


  • Heterosis in Crops (SS at Univ. Bonn)



  • Frey FP, Pitz M, Schön CC, Hochholdinger F (2020) Transcriptomic diversity in seedling roots of European flint maize in response to cold. BMC Genomics 21: 300. PubMed Free Article


  • Hochholdinger F, Marcon C, Baldauf J, Frey F, Yu P (2018) Proteomics of Maize Root Development. Front Plant Sci 9: 143.  PubMed  Free PMC Article

  • Yu P, Marcon C, Baldauf JA, Frey F, Baer M, Hochholdinger F (2018) Transcriptomic dissection of maize root system development. Compendium of plant genomes: The Zea mays Genome. 1st ed. (eds. J. Bennetzen, S. Flint-Garcia, C. Hirsch and R. Tuberosa) pp. 247-257. Springer Nature.


  • Frey FP, Presterl T, Lecoq P, Orlik A, Stich B (2016) First steps to understand heat tolerance of temperate maize at adult stage: identification of QTL across multiple environments with connected segregating populations. Theor Appl Genet 129: 945-961.  PubMed  Free PMC Article


  • Frey FP, Urbany C, Hüttel B, Reinhardt R, Stich B (2015) Genome-wide expression profiling and phenotypic evaluation of European maize inbreds at seedling stage in response to heat stress. BMC genomics 16: 123.  PubMed  Free PMC Article


  • Abdel-Ghani AH, Frey FP, Parzies HK (2013) Effect of temperature on the expression of cytoplasmic male sterility in cultivated barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Plant Breeding, 132: 42-47. Link