I have always been fascinated with the plethora of life forms on earth, and during my studies I became interested in the question how different morphologies evolve. Evolutionary developmental biology (“evo-devo”) allowed me to use genetic and molecular biology approaches to contribute towards the answer to this question. For my PhD I joined the lab of Professor Gregor Bucher in Goettingen. In order to understand the large variety in head morphology in arthropods I studied embryonic head development in the model system Tribolium castaneum, the red flour beetle.
I then did a short project on embryonic muscle differentiation in Drosophila with Dr. Gerd Vorbrueggen at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen. With the switch to Drosophila melanogaster as a model I also expanded my expertise to Drosophila genetics, binary expression systems, immunostainings and confocal microscopy.
With a research Fellowship from the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) I joined Professor Alistair McGregor at Oxford Brookes University to study the genetic basis for changes in a gene regulatory network which result in morphological differences (size of the “naked valley”) within and between Drosophila species. During this project I greatly expanded my knowledge on evolutionary and developmental biology, on the Drosophila model system, and was also able to use novel techniques like ATAC-seq, RNAseq, and the bioinformatics tools for their analysis.
Recently I became interested in the question how mutations are generated, as they form the basis of evolutionary change but can also lead to disease. One process during which mutations in the genome can occur is DNA damage repair. In January 2018 I started working in Alberto’s lab where I want to understand what roles caspases play in this process.