Dr. Conrad Helm - the "Helm Lab"

Research interests

My group is interested in the evolution and development of invertebrate organ systems and cell types using a comparative and integrative approach. With special focus on Annelida and related taxa, we apply a variety of different morphological and molecular methods - including Azan histology, immunohistochemistry, SEM/TEM/SBF-SEM and microCT as well as gene expression analyses using ISH/WMISH and phylogenomics.
Furthermore, using long-term traps such as Malaise traps etc., we are monitoring insect diversity in selected habitats to understand biodiversity interactions and deduce specific provisions for nature conservation as well as landscape preservation.


Short CV

since 07/2018 Assistant Professor at the Georg-August University Goettingen in the department "Animal Evolution and Biodiversity", with permanent position since 03/2022
01/2018-06/2018 Independent researcher at the Georg-August University Goettingen in the group "Animal Evolution and Biodiversity", financed by a personal research fellowship ("Rückkehrstipendium") from the german research foundation (DFG) (He 7224/2-1)
04/2017-12/2017 PostDoc at the Sars international centre for marine molecular biology, (University of Bergen) in the Hausen group – S11
04/2015-03/2017 Independent researcher at the Sars international centre for marine molecular biology, (University of Bergen) in the Hausen group – S11, financed by a personal research fellowship from the german research foundation (DFG) (He 7224/1-1)
05/2013-03/2015 Academic assistant in the lab of Prof. Dr. M. Schlegel (Molecular Evolution and Animal Systematics, University of Leipzig) and Prof. Dr. R. Rübsamen (General Zoology and Neurobiology, University of Leipzig)
05/2013 PhD thesis: "Integration of molecules and morphology reveals the phylogenetic position of Myzostomida" Grade: summa cum laude (supervised by Prof. Dr. M. Schlegel (Leipzig) and Prof. Dr. T. Bartolomaeus (Bonn))
2009-2013 PhD student at the University of Leipzig


Selected publications

Yang, X., Aguado, M.T., Helm, C., Zhang, Z. and Bleidorn, C. (2024) New fossil of Gaoloufangchaeta advances the origin of Errantia (Annelida) to the early Cambrian. Royal Society Open Science, 11(4), p.231580. doi.org/10.1098/rsos.231580

Kalke, P., Beckers, P., Linder, S.S. and Helm, C. (2024) Palps across the tree-the neuronal innervation and development of sensory head appendages in Annelida. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 17, p.1310225.

Purschke, G. & Helm C. (2023) Development and structure of the anterior nervous system and sense organs in the holopelagic annelid Tomopteris spp. (Phyllodocida, Errantia). Organisms, Diversity and Evolution, doi.org/10.1007/s13127-023-00603-0

Beckers P., Gebhardt T. & Helm C. (2022) Loss of nervous system complexity – Morphological analyses shed light on the neuronal evolution in Myzostomida (Annelida). Acta Zoologica, 1-14.

Kalke P. & Helm C. (2022) No cost but high performance - An alternative open source solution for 3D-visualizations in morphology. Microscopy Research and Technique, 1-5.

Helm C., Schwarze G. & Beckers P. (2022) Loss of complexity from larval towards adult nervous systems in Chaetopteridae (Chaetopteriformia, Annelida) unveils evolutionary patterns in Annelida. Organisms, Diversity and Evolution, doi.org/10.1007/s13127-022-00553-z.

Kalke P., Beckers P. & Helm C. (2021) May the palps be with you – new insights into the evolutionary origin of anterior appendages in Terebelliformia (Annelida). BMC Zoology 6, 30.

Tzetlin A., Budaeva N., Vortsepneva E., Helm C. (2020) New insights into morphology and evolution of the ventral pharynx and jaws in Histriobdellidae (Eunicida, Annelida). Zoological Letters, 6: 14.

Helm C., Vila I., Budaeva N. (2020) Histriobdella Claus & Moquin-Tandon, 1884. In book: Handbook of Zoology Online, Editors: G. Purschke, W. Westheide & M. Böggemann.

Kumar S., Chandra Tumu S., Helm C., Hausen H. (2020) The development of early pioneer neurons in the annelid Malacoceros fuliginosus. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 20, 117.

Beckers P., Helm C., Bartlomoaeus T. (2019) The anatomy and development of the nervous system in Magelonidae (Annelida)–insights into the evolution of the annelid brain. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 19, 173.

Beckers P., Helm C., Purschke G., Worsaae K., Hutchings P. and Bartolomaeus T. (2019) The central nervous system of Oweniidae (Annelida) and its implications for the structure of the ancestral annelid brain. Frontiers in Zoology 16, 6.

Helm C., Bok M.J., Hutchings P., Kupriyanova E. and Capa M. (2018) Developmental studies provide new insights into the evolution of sense organs in Sabellariidae (Annelida). BMC Evolutionary Biology 18, 149.

Helm C., Beckers P., Bartolomaeus T., Drukewitz S.H., Kourtesis I., Weigert A., Purschke G., Worsaae K., Struck T.H. and Bleidorn C. (2018) Convergent evolution of the ladder-like ventral nerve cord in Annelida. Frontiers in Zoology 15: 36.

Helm C., Karl A., Beckers P., Kaul-Strehlow S., Ulbricht E., Kourtesis I., Kuhrt H., Hausen H., Bartolomaeus T., Reichenbach A. & Bleidorn C. (2017) Early evolution of radial glial cells in Bilateria. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284: 20170743.

Helm C., Vöcking O., Kourtesis I. & Hausen H. (2016) Owenia fusiformis – a basally branching annelid suitable for studying ancestral features of annelid neural development. BMC Evolutionary Biology 16: 129.

Helm C. & Capa M. (2015) Comparative analyses of morphological characters in Sphaerodoridae and allies (Annelida) revealed by an integrative microscopical approach. Frontiers in Marine Science 1: 1-15.