Head development & evolution

We seek to understand the formation of the insect head from pattern formation to morphogenesis. These data provide insights into some long standing zoological question concerning the arthropod head and its evolution. More

Tribolium Beetle

The red flour beetle Tribolium has an insect typical head (B) while the head of the Drosophila larva is turned outside into the body (A).

Brain development & evolution

We want to identify the early signals that give neural stem cells (neuroblasts) of the brain different identities. We focus on a subset of neuroblasts that are located in a region with similarity to the anterior portion of the vertebrate forebrain and that contribute to the central complex.More

Tc-six3 beetle

Expression of the regulatory gene Tc-six3 (red) is required for the formation of a subset of neural stem cells (green) which contribute to the central complex (overlap shown in yellow).

Molecular Zoology and Evolution

Our developmental genetics results give novel insights into classical zoological questions like the arthropod head problem. Further, we compare our data with Drosophila and other arthropods in order to elucidate the genetic differences that underly the evolution of animal diversity.

Insect Functional Genomics:

We expand the power of our model system by developing novel tools. Transgenic tools and CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing allow a deeper analysis of gene function. The genome wide iBeetle RNAi screen reveals novel gene functions.More