Focus "Molecular Genetics of Development"

Broad and profound training during the course work  

In the 1st semester you might want to choose the core modules Cell Biology and Current Developmental Biology. These modules provide a thorough knowledge about topics, model systems and experimental approaches in both vertebrates and invertebrates. In parallel, the key competence module “Development and plasticity of the nervous system” introduces to vertebrate neural development.  In the 2nd semester, you may further specialize by choosing Current Developmental Biology. This core module focuses on  current aspects of neural development in both invertebrates and vertebrates and provides interactive training in designing experiments. For this advanced module it is advisable to have completed Current Developmental Biology and Development and Plasticity of the Nervous System or to prepare by working through respective chapters in textbooks. The question in how developmental processes influence the evolution of animals is covered in the module Current Developmental Biology as well - it covers several model species and approaches in that respect. Together, these courses cover the entire range of developmental biology and deepen your understanding of the underlying principles. Further, you will be trained in applying a set of diverse techniques important in the field. Thereafter, you will have a good basis for choosing the topic, the model system and the lab for your research during lab rotations and Master thesis.  

Choose a topic for your research  

You will perform your own research at an early stage of the Master program. During two lab rotations in different labs you will further develop your skills by performing research projects. Usually, you will choose one of these labs for your Master thesis. Excellent students may directly enter the PhD program "Genes and Development" without doing a Master thesis. For that matter, you are able to choose between labs from the entire Göttingen Research Campus including the Faculty of Biology and Psychology, the Medical faculty and several non-university research institutions (Max Planck Institutes of Biophysical Chemistry and Experimental Medicine and the Primate Center). Some topics are listed below - please find a list of involved teachers and their research topics here.

Molecular genetics of development  

Topics range from the molecular and genetic control of pattern formation, the cellular basis and biophysics of development (including stem cells and cellular morphogenesis) to organogenesis and the evolution of developmental processes. Experimental approaches include forward and reverse genetics and CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, state of the art imaging, in vivo imaging, deep sequencing, biophysical and biochemical methods and population genetics and many others. You could for instance apply transgenic tools in mice, use injection and biochemistry in the frog Xenopus laevis or zebrafish genetics. In the invertebrates, you might want to apply the elegant genetic tool kit of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster or C.elegans, use systemic RNAi in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum or the spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum or apply population genetics methods to identify the genes responsible for the evolution of the development of different traits.    

Neural development is represented by early neurogenesis in the frog Xenopus, the development and evolution of the insect brain, axon pathfinding and glia development. Using the mouse model, Göttingen research groups are aiming at understanding chronobiology, glia function and the molecular basis of neurodegenerative diseases.  

Cell biology research is very strong in Göttingen. Among other topics, the human immune system, centriole biology and nuclear import are studied.  

Molecular entomology and insect biotechnology is a research focus in Göttingen, where transgenic and reverse genetic tools (RNAi) are developed in emerging arthropod model systems in order to open new fields of zoological research for functional genetics. These topics include the evolution of developmental processes, the biology of stink glands and novel approaches to insect pest control.