Project Groups

Dieter Wicher

Olfactory receptors play an important role in adaptation of a species to ecological niches. Insect olfactory receptors are different in two aspects from vertebrate and other invertebrate olfactory receptors which belong to the family of G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). First, they form dimers composed of one odour-specific protein and one ubiquitous protein forming an ion channel. Second, compared with classical GPCRs the topology of the insect receptor proteins appears to be inverted. more>>>

Jürgen Rybak

The neural basis of olfaction is studied from a morphological and evolutionary perspective. We are examining the olfactory systems of Drosphilids, and small coeleopterans. Our key techniques are confocal microscopy, neural tracer and as well as electron microscopy (Cryo-FIB-SEM, SEM, TEM) to analyze the neural circuitry involved in olfaction in the arthropod brain. more>>>

Ewald Grosse-Wilde

The gene families encoding odorant receptors in insects exhibit extraordinarily rapid adaptation to changing life styles. This is prompted by the changes in availability and importance of chemical cues, which exert strong pressure in the sense. This rapid adaptation is our main interests, as well as the origin of the different gene families involved. more>>>

Markus Knaden

My group investigates how odors affect the behavior of animals as different as vinegar flies, sphingid moths, desert ants, and hermit crabs. We try to understand the basic principles of olfaction either in an evolutionary approach, a neurophysiological approach and an ethological approach. more>>>



Sofia Lavista-Llanos

Our aim is to get hold of the neural mechanisms and genetic basis sustaining chemosensory behavior in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, and in closely related species living under different ecological conditions. more »




Sonja Bisch-Knaden

We investigate the impact of olfaction on different aspects in the life history of moths: finding valuable food sources, choosing a conspecific mating partner, and, in the case of female moths, deciding which plants are appropriate substrates to lay eggs. We are especially interested how ecologically important volatile compounds are coded in the antennal lobe, i.e. the first olfactory processing centre of the insect brain. more>>>