Evolutionary biology and venomics

Comparative Venomics 

Venoms are one of the most important evolutionary adaptation but are currently studied in detail only for few taxa, such as snakes, cone snails, spiders and scorpions. I am interested in the venom evolution and biology of neglected, mostly invertebrates species.
Major groups are crustaceans, polychaetes, robberflies, centipedes, and other insects. For many projects exist collaborations with colleagues in Australia, United Kingdom and France.
I am using a combined methodological approach applying morphology, transcriptomics, proteomics and genomics. In the new Animal Venomics group in Gießen we complement these methods with expertise in synthesis, expression and bioactivity tests of putative toxins.


Pancrustacean phylogenomics

After contributing important studies on arthropod and crustacean phylogeny using house-keeping and multiple genes I focused on transcriptomic data to reveal pancrustacean phylogeny contributing transcriptomic data for several unsampled curstaceans including Remipedia and Ostracoda.
Now I focus more on the methodological issues concerning transcriptomic/phylogenomic data that hinder so far our outcomes. This is also linked to my collaboration with consortia such as 1KITE or i5K and large scale data analyses.
Currently I set up a genome sequencing project of Remipede crustaceans funded by LOEWE TBG. Major questions are related to venom evolution in this group and evolutionary processes and adaptations in comparison to insects.

Bat diversity in the alluvial forest of Leipzig (Canopy crane based)

I started in 2017 a new project to study the diversity and vertical distribution of bats in the alluvial forest (“Auwald”) of Leipzig. I apply mainly bioacustic methods using the iDiv canopy crane research platform. The goal is to study long-term diversity of bat species and possible impact of abiotic and antropogenic factors but also niche distribution in one of the most important alluvial forests in Europe.


Marine and terrestrial stygobiontic fauna of “Bel Torrente”, a cave system in Sardinia

Since my time in Cala Gonone at the east coast of Sardinia I am fascinated by the cave systems in the Golfo di Orosei. Since some years I collect specimens in these cave systems. A major focus also by exploration projects is on the system of Bel Torrente.


Bachelor, master and PhD projects

Linked to my research several opportunities exist for Bachelor, Master and PhD theses. Applied methods vary for each project, if you are interested, please ask, or check open calls and feel free to contact me.