Prpic-Schäper, Nikola-Michael, Dr.

Professor for Molecular Developmental Biology at University of Gießen

  • Dipl. Biol. Univ., Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München, 2000
  • Dr. rer. nat., Universität zu Köln, 2004
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University College London, 2005-2006
  • Junior group leader, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, 2007-2019
  • Professor for Molecular Developmental Biology, Gießen, since 2019

Major Research Interests

My lab is interested in the evolution of animal form and the origin of morphological diversity. Arthropod appendages are arguably the most diverse organ in the animal kingdom. We use morphological, cellular, molecular, and developmental genetics approaches to study how arthropod appendages develop and have adapted their form to various functions. Research projects in the lab include screens for novel genes involved in appendage development, in-depth studies of candidate genes based on Drosophila, and wide-scale comparative studies in various arthropod species from all four major classes of arthropod. The main research models in my lab are the beetle Tribolium castaneum and the spider Achaearanea tepidariorum, supplemented by a number of satellite models selected for specific aspects of comparative studies.

Homepage Department/Research Group

Selected Recent Publications

  • Pechmann M, Khadjeh S, Turetzek N, McGregor AP, Damen WGM, Prpic NM (2011) Novel function of Distal-less as a gap gene during spider segmentation. PLoS Genetics 7:e1002342.

  • Janssen R, Le Gouar M, Pechmann M, Poulin F, Bolognesi R, Schwager EE, Hopfen C, Colbourne JK, Budd GE, Brown SJ, Prpic NM, Kosiol C, Vervoort M, Damen WGM, Balavoine G, McGregor AP (2010) Conservation, loss, and redeployment of Wnt ligands in protostomes: implications for understanding the evolution of segment formation. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10:374.
  • Janssen R, Eriksson BJ, Budd GE, Akam M, Prpic NM (2010) Gene expression patterns in an onychophoran reveal that regionalization predates limb segmentation in pan-arthropods. Evolution & Development 12:363-372.

  • Grossmann D, Scholten J, Prpic NM (2009) Separable functions of wingless in distal and ventral patterning of the Tribolium leg. Development Genes and Evolution 219:469-479.
  • Prpic NM, Damen WGM (2009) Notch-mediated segmentation of the appendages is a molecular phylotypic trait of the arthropods. Developmental Biology 326:262-271.

  • Prpic NM (2008) Parasegmental appendage allocation in annelids and arthropods and the homology of parapodia and arthropodia. Frontiers in Zoology 5:17.
  • Janssen R, Feitosa NM, Damen WGM, Prpic NM (2008) The T-box genes H15 and optomotor-blind in the spiders Cupiennius salei, Tegenaria atrica and Achaearanea tepidariorum and the dorso-ventral axis of arthropod appendages. Evolution & Development 10:143-154.

    • Prpic NM, Damen WGM (2005) Cell death during germ band inversion, dorsal closure and nervous system development in the spider Cupiennius salei. Developmental Dynamics 234:222-228.
    • Prpic NM, Janssen R, Wigand B, Klingler M, Damen WGM (2003) Gene expression in spider appendages reveals reversal of exd/hth spatial specificity, altered leg gap gene dynamics, and suggests divergent distal morphogen signaling. Developmental Biology 264:119-140.

    • Prpic NM, Tautz D (2003) The expression of the proximodistal axis patterning genes Distal-less and dachshund in the appendages of Glomeris marginata (Myriapoda: Diplopoda) suggests a special role of these genes in patterning the head appendages. Developmental Biology 260:97-112.