HHU StartMNFBiologyResearch Focus

Research Focus


Prof. Dr. Hermann Aberle; undefinedFunctional Cell Morphology
We are interested in the development and function of the nervous system in Drosophila melanogaster. Key aspects of our work concentrate on genes regulating axon guidance and target recognition during the formation of neuronal circuits. If feasible, we examine intact animals using neurogenetic methods and high-resolution microscopy.


Jun.-Prof. Dr. Ilka Maria Axmann; undefinedSynthetic Microbiology
We are researching molecular regulatory processes in microorganisms influenced by internal factors like small RNA molecules or the circadian clock. Our knowledge is used for designing novel, synthetic regulators. Particular focus is placed on the engineering of cyanobacteria as a future host for sustainable biotechnology.


Prof. Dr. Petra Bauer; undefinedBotany
We study regulatory processes for nutrient allocation and iron management at the level of genes and proteins, cells and the whole plant, e.g. signaling, transcription factor networks, membrane dynamics, cellular protein control. We combine molecular plant physiology, genetics, biochemistry and cell biology methods.


Jun.-Prof. Dr. Mathias Beller; undefinedSystems Biology of Lipid Metabolism
We investigate the cell biology and regulation of lipid metabolism using different tissue culture cell lines and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as model system. In the spotlight is the unraveling of the function of the proteins associated with the lipid storage organelles using methods from cell biology, biochemistry and genetics.


Prof. Dr. Martin Beye; undefinedEvolutionary Genetics
We study the genetic underpinnings of complementary sex determination and social organization in honeybees. Using genetic tools and automated behavioral tracking of 2D barcode labelled bees we examine how social organization is regulated, how this regulation is controlled by the brain and how the brain is genetically specified.


Prof. Dr. Michael Bott; undefinedSystemic Microbiology
We perform research in the field of molecular and applied microbiology: I. Elucidation of metabolic and regulatory networks of microbial cell factories. II. Biosensor-based FACS-screening methods for strain and enzyme development. III. Construction of production strains by metabolic engineering and synthetic biology.


Prof. Dr. Oliver Ebenhöh; undefinedQuantitative and Theoretical Biology
At the Institute of Quantitative and Theoretical Biology we are developing mathematical models and new theoretical concepts to investigate biological systems. We aim at understanding emergent properties of complex systems and identifying general principles underlying metabolic, signalling, developmental and evolutionary processes.


Prof. Christoph Fahlke; undefinedCellular Biophysics (ICS-4)
We study ion channels and ion transporters with a combination of electrophysiological and biochemical experiments and molecular dynamics simulations. We are interested in the molecular basis of their function, but also in the role of these proteins in normal cell function as well as in pathological functions in human diseases. 


Prof. Dr. Michael Feldbrügge; undefinedMicrobiology
Our research and teaching at the Institute for Microbiology comprises the fields cell biology, pathogenicity and biotechnology. To study these fields we use both prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms as model systems. We use current projects to train students in basic research as well as the applied sciences on all levels.


apl. Prof. Dr. Ursula Nicole Fleig; undefinedEukaryotic Microbiology


Prof. Dr. Sebastian Fraune; undefinedZoology and Organismic Interactions
We are fascinated by the fact, that the microbiome affects nutrition, development, immunity and even behavior of an animal. In our research, we are investigating the underlying interactions between animals and bacteria, while focusing on the communication from host-to-microbe, microbe-to-host and microbe-to-microbe.


Alexander von Humboldt Professor Dr. Wolf B. Frommer; undefinedMolecular Physiology Key interests are networks that control exchange of nutrients, metabolites and signaling molecules between cells. We use tricks to identify transporters to fish regulatory components, fluorescent sensors, sponges, advanced imaging, membrane protein interaction screens and quantitative chromatin studies. We engineer pathogen resistant crops.


Prof. Dr. Julia Frunzke; undefinedPopulation heterogeneity and signal transduction
Microbial viruses represent the most abundant biological entity on this planet. We are interested in the interaction between bacterial viruses (phages) and bacteria and in the analysis of regulatory networks in bacteria. Our group investigates the underlying molecular mechanisms and their application in modern biotechnology.


Dr. Vera Göhre, undefinedMicrobiology, AG Pathogenicity
Smut fungi are economically relevant pathogens. We focus on their infection biology in corn and model plants and address the questions: Which virulence factors are used by smut fungi? How do they feed inside the plant? How does the plant respond to infection? Our molecular findings contribute to improving plant protection.


PD Dr. Sven Gould; undefinedMoleculare Evolution, AG Gould
Our team investigates the function of eukaryotic compartments in light of their evolutionary history. We currently focus on the co-evolution and interaction of mitochondrion and plastids, and the import of nuclear-encoded proteins into these two organelles of endosymbiotic origin.


Prof. Dr. Georg Groth; undefinedBiochemical Plant Physiology
Research projects in our lab focus on proteins involved in photosynthesis, stress response, ripening or plant senescence. Key interest of our research is to understand structure and interactions of these proteins on the molecular level. To this end, we use a wide range of biochemical, biophysical and physiological methods.



Prof. Dr. Henrike Heise; undefinedSolid-State NMR group
We characterize strutures and structural ensembles of intrinsically unfolded and misfolded proteins and protein complexes with the help of state-of the art solid-state NMR-spectroscopy. We also develop and adapt novel methods in NMR and apply dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) for signal enhancement.


Jun.-Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hoyer; undefinedPhysical Biology, AG Hoyer
We study the aggregation of proteins into amyloid fibril deposits, a pathological feature of various diseases including Alzheimer, Parkinson, and type 2 diabetes. We employ a wide range of techniques in the areas of biophysics, biochemistry, and molecular biology to devise strategies for controlling amyloid formation.


Prof. Dr. Karl-Erich Jaeger; undefinedMolecular Enzymtechnology
The institute pursues interdisciplinary research with enzymes and fluorescent proteins from bacteria. The proteins are identified and characterized using molecular biological, microbiological, biochemical, structural and computer-based methods. We aim to provide novel biocatalysts and reporter proteins for biotechnological applications.


apl. Prof. Dr. Peter Jahns; undefinedPhotosynthesis and stress physiology of plants We investigate mechanisms that are involved in the protection against high light-induced damaging processes (= photo-oxidative stress) in land plants and green algae. The research is focused on the regulation and function of mechanisms contributing to the dissipation of excess excitation energy as heat.   


Prof. Dr. Thomas Klein; undefinedGenetics
We are interested in cell communication during development of metazoans. In the focus of our research is the regulation of the activity of the evolutionary conserved Notch signalling pathway by the endosomal pathway. We investigate this regulation in two model systems, mouse and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.


Prof. Dr. Markus Kollmann; undefinedMathematical Modelling of Biological Systems
We try to predict how sequence information affects biomolecular processes. In particular we are interested in predicting secondary and tertiary structure of RNA and translational efficiency of genes. We make use of advanced machine methods, such as combining deep generative models with reinforcement learning.


Prof. Dr. Maria von Korff Schmising; undefinedPlant Genetics
The research objectives of the von Korff group are to unravel the genetic control of reproductive development and stress adaptation of barley. We use quantitative genetics, natural diversity and high-throughput sequencing techniques to identify genes and molecular networks that control the development of the different shoot meristems.


Prof. Dr. Eckhard Lammert; undefinedMetabolic Physiology
The institute performs research on the cardiovascular system, the pancreas and liver. It also studies diabetes mellitus as a common metabolic disease together with the Institute for Vascular and Islet Cell Biology at the German Diabetes Center (DDZ).


PD Dr. Nicole Linka; undefinedPlant Biochemistry
Peroxisomes are essential for the metabolism in plants, animals and humans. We study the exchange of metabolites by combining molecular biology, genetic and biochemistry. The goal is to integrate peroxisomes into the metabolic network.


Prof. Dr. William F. Martin; undefinedMolecular Evolution
We investigate major bioenergetic transitions in early cell evolution: the origin of the first free-living bacteria and archaea, the role of mitochondria at the origin of eukaryotes, and the cyanobacterial ancestry of plastids at the origin of the plant kingdom. Our key words are symbiosis, bioinformatics, chemistry and energy.


Priv. Doz. Dr. Veronica G. Maurino; undefinedMolecular physiology and biotechnology of plants The long-term goal of our research is a deep systemic understanding of specific cellular metabolite damage control systems in land plants and algae. Furthermore, we strive to provide basis for the development and implementation of strategies to improve organisms in terms of efficient resource utilization and enhanced yield.


Dr. Eva Nowack; undefinedMicrobial Symbiosis and Organelle Evolution
We study the transformation of bacterial endosymbionts into genetically integrated organelles. To this end, we characterize endosymbioses that evolved more recently than mitochondria and plastids. Using genomic, proteomic, molecular and synthetic biological approaches we explore mechanisms that integrate endosymbionts into the host cell.


Prof. Dr. Markus Pauly; undefinedPlant Cell and Biotechnology
Our research entails various plant genetic and synthetic biology approaches to reconstruct plant cell wall polymer synthesis in e.g. yeast and to generate plants with alternative wall structures.



Dr. Tobias Reiff; undefinedGenetics, RG Reiff
Our lab is interested in basic questions of stem cell proliferation and tissue homeostasis. To tackle our questions, we use the adult Drosophila melanogaster intestine as a stem cell based model system due to its accessibility and manifold genetic tools. In the future, we aim to translate our findings to tumorigenesis using models of colorectal cancer.


Prof. Dr. Christine R. Rose; undefinedNeurobiology
Ion gradients across plasma membranes are the basis for electrical excitability, secondary transport and ion signaling. We are devoted to study cellular ion homeostasis and signaling in the brain using fluorescence imaging and electrophysiological techniques. A main focus is the analysis of consequences of metabolic stress (i.e. stroke).


Prof. Dr. Laura Rose; undefinedPopulation Genetics
My research focuses on the evolutionary genetics of plants and their associated microbes. Using population genetics and phylogenetics, I reconstruct the evolutionary history of host-microbe communication. In functional assays, I evaluate the range of fitness consequences of both positive and negative interactions with microbes.


Prof. Dr. Carsten Sachse; undefinedStructural Biology (ER-C-3)


Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schurr; undefinedIBG-2: Plant Sciences
Knowledge about photosynthesis, transport and growth of plants in a dynamic environment is the basis for their optimization for food and biorefineries. We develop/use non-invasive (MRI, PET, etc.) and high-throughput methods and robotics in greenhouses, climate chambers and in the field.


Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Simon; undefinedDevelopmental Genetics
We investigate how plant cells in a tissue communicate with each other via secreted peptides, membrane receptors and transcription factors. These signal transduction pathways continuously adjust stem cell fate in plant meristems. We use genetic, molecular and biochemical approaches, with a strong emphasis on advanced imaging methods.


Jun.-Prof. Dr. Ingrid Span; undefinedStructure and Function of Metalloproteins
Our research focuses on metalloproteins. The combination of transition metal reactivity with the highly selective protein environment makes these biomolecules particularly exciting. We use X-ray crystallography and spectroscopy to understand the molecular basis of living processes.


PD Dr. Yvonne Stahl, undefinedDevelopmental Genetics, RG Stahl
Our research focuses on the regulation of stem cells in the Arabidopsis root. We use a combination of molecular biology, genetics and in vivo advanced fluorescence microscopy to understand how specific transcription factors control the necessary tight but also dynamic regulation from stem cell fate to differentiation.


Prof. Dr. Benjamin Stich; undefinedQuantitative Genetics and Genomics of Plants
Most traits of agronomic importance are quantitative traits, i.e. the phenotypic observations cannot be assigned to distinct classes. Our research aims to develop approaches that allow the prediction of such traits from molecular variation as well as to identify the causes of natural phenotypic variation on a molecular level.


Prof. Dr. Andreas Weber; undefinedPlant Biochemistry
We unravel the genetic design principles underpinning the physiological and biochemical diversity of photosynthesis in land plants, algae, and cyanobacteria and we study the evolution of photosynthetic organisms. We develop blueprints for reconfiguration of plant metabolic networks, making use of the concepts of synthetic biology


Prof. Dr. Nick Wierckx; undefinedMicrobial Catalysis
We study the development of microbial catalysts for the bio-production of useful chemicals from e.g., biomass or plastic waste. This involves the systematic analysis of microbial metabolism and metabolic engineering of bacteria and fungi using synthetic biology tools.


Prof. Dr. Dieter Willbold; undefinedPhysical Biology
We want to fully understand protein aggregation. We are using all structural biology tools that allow atomic resolution. Further biophysical methods, molecular and cellular biology, as well as the use of animal models allow us to develop new strategies and drugs for therapy of neurodegenerative diseases with a strong focus on “Alzheimer”.


Prof. Dr. Jürgen Zeier; undefinedMolecular Ecophysiology of Plants
Our research investigates the metabolic and biochemical events that regulate plant-environment interactions. In particular, we study a phenomenon designated as systemic acquired resistance, a plant immune response that confers broad-spectrum disease resistance to microbial pathogens and primes plants for effective defense activation.


Prof. Dr. Matias Zurbriggen; undefinedSynthetic Biology

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