Overview of the Institute’s Research Groups

Andrei LupasProtein Evolution
Department Director

Proteins provide the chemical basis for all processes of life. We investigate their origin and the evolution of their folds and mechanisms of action by means of bioinformatics, biochemistry and sturctural biology. more
Jörg MartinProtein Folding, Unfolding and Degradation
Group Leader, Department of Protein Evolution

Using a variety of biochemistry, biophysics and microbiology techniques, we focus on prokaryotic model systems to better understand these intricate processes. more
Birte Hernandez AlvarezConservation of Protein Structure and Function
Group leader, Department of Protein Evolution

We study structure-function relationships in proteins from an evolutionary perspective.  more
Vikram AlvaProtein Bioinformatics
Group Leader, Department of Protein Evolution

We are broadly interested in understanding the events that led to the emergence of these first folds and their diversification into the many functional protein families we recognize today. more
Marcus HartmannMolecular Recognition and Catalysis
Group Leader, Department of Protein Evolution

Our mission is to understand and manipulate macromolecular machines and systems. more
Murray ColesTransmembrane Signal Transduction
Group Leader, Department of Protein Evolution

Our group concentrates on protein structure determination, with a special focus on proteins involved in transmembrane signaling. more
Oliver WeichenriederStructural biology of "Selfish" RNA

Oliver Weichenrieder
Structural biology of "Selfish" RNA

Group Leader, Department of Protein Evolution

We are interested in the molecular details that control this integration process and combine mechanistic analyses based on molecular structures with cell-based retrotransposition assays.

Stanislaw Dunin-Horkawicz

Group leader, Department Protein Evolution
Ruth LeyMicrobiome Research
Department Director

The Department of Microbiome Science is broadly interested in the ecology and evolution of the human gut microbiota. We perform population-level research to probe links between human genotype and the gut microbiota, and we focus mechanistically on ways in which specific gut microbes have adapted to the human body. more
James MarshMicrobiome Engineering
Group Leader, Department of Microbiome Science

We are trying to establish new techniques to genetically modify non-model organisms to better understand their effects on the human gut. more
Alexander TyakhtMobile genetic elements in the gut microbiome of human populations
Group Leader, Department of Microbiome Science

While the taxonomic structure of gut microbiome in the world human populations has been outlined, its subspecies-level genomic richness in the context of co-evolution with the host, particularly the variability of its extrachromosomal content, is still to be elucidated. more
Ralf SommerIntegrative Evolutionary Biology
Department Director

We link development, ecology, and population genetics in a highly integrative approach to study how novel and complex traits evolve as a result of historical processes. more
Christian RödelspergerEvolutionary Genomics and Bioinformatics
Group Leader, Department of Integrative Evolutionary Biology

How do processes like duplication, genomic rearrangements, and formation of novel genes shape genomes? Do these processes generate heritable differences in the phenotypes that we care about? To extend our understanding of these two questions, we combine large-scale sequencing data with statistical analysis to find the genetic basis of various traits in the nematode P. pacificus. more
Catia IgrejaRegulation and post-translational modification of gene expression in nematodes
Group Leader, Department of Integrative Evolutionary Biology

We use a biochemical approach to study phenotypically plastic traits in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus and describe the regulatory mechanisms of enzyme expression, activity and specificity that lead to multimorphic outcomes.  more
Adrian StreitParasitic Nematodes
Group leader, Department of Integrative Evolutionary Biology

We study various aspects of the biology of Strongyloides spp. nematodes. This genus consists of more than 50 species, which are small-intestinal parasites of vertebrates. Among them is the human pathogen S. stercoralis. According to recent WHO estimates more than 600 million people are infected with this parasite world wide. more
Matthias HerrmannEntomo-Nematology
Group Leader, Department of Integrative Evolutionary Biology

We study nematode-insect associations with a major mission to describe nematode diversity as well as the specificity of their association with beetles. We collect specimens world-wide and focus within-species diversity studies on La Réunion island, where we have a small field station. more
Susana CoelhoAlgal Development and Evolution
Department Director

Brown algae have been evolving independently of animals and land plants for more than a billion years. We exploit these organisms to understand the origin, evolution and regulation of sexual systems diversity and multicellular development across eukaryotes. more
Agnieszka LipinskaReproductive Isolation and Speciation in Brown Algae
Group leader, Department of Algal Development and Evolution

Aga Lipinska is leading the effort to characterise the role of sex chromosomes in postzygotic isolation, to identify the causative genomic regions and to carry out evolutionary analyses of the genes underlying hybrid incompatibility in brown algal species. more
Michael BorgDevelopment in Red Algae
Group Leader, Department of Algal Development and Evolution

We are now applying our expertise in red algae, where the relevance and function of molecular processes underlying development and reproduction is poorly understood. more
Detlef WeigelMolecular Biology
Department Director

There is tremendous phenotypic diversity between and within species. Much of this is thought to reflect adaptation to the environment. Drawing on tools from high-throughput genomics to forward genetics, we are investigating the mechanisms responsible for adaptive variation. more
Hajk-Georg DrostComputational Biology
Group Leader, Department of Molecular Biology

We develop cutting-edge software solutions to deal with the ever-increasing amount of genomic information. more
Rebecca SchwabEcological Genetics
Group leader, Department of Molecular Biology

We study the spatial and temporal dynamics of virulence and resistance in a plant-oomycete pathosystem to understand how genetic heterogeneity of disease resistance evolves.  more
Honour McCannPlant Pathogen Evolution
Max-Planck-Research Group Leader

Working at the interface of microbial evolution, pathogen genomics and plant microbe interactions, the overarching goal of our work is to understand how plant pathogens emerge and evolve​. more
Hassan SalemMutualisms
Max-Planck-Research Group Leader

We are interested in the molecular currencies driving the cooperation of species, and the genomic and metabolic consequences of coevolution between a host and its symbiont. more
Lars AngenentAccelerating the Next Generation of Novel Technologies

We are researching the recovery of carbon from wastewater and industrial waste gases using bioprocess engineering. more
Uwe IrionEvolution of Pigment Pattern Formation in Danio Fish
Group Leader

Starting from zebrafish, we investigate the genetic basis of the diversification of color patterns in the group of Danio fish.  more

Sebastien Colin

Group Leader
Christiane Nüsslein-VolhardColor Pattern Formation
Group Leader

We use the zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a model organism to study pigment pattern formation in a vertebrate. more
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