Scientific Departments

The Department of Biochemistry investigates the chemical defenses that plants deploy against their herbivorous enemies. The research goal is to determine which chemical compounds actually protect plants, how they act against herbivores, how the production of defenses in plants is regulated, and why plants seem to have evolved such a large diversity of defensive compounds. [more]
The Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology studies odor-directed behavior and the underlying neurobiological substrate in insects from a functional and evolutionary perspective. Studies are performed in two main systems: drosophilid flies and sphingid moths. The main objective is to understand the evolution of olfactory functions. [more]
The Department of Insect Symbiosis investigates how insects adapt to challenging environments or food sources, with a particular focus on ecological traits conferred by microbial symbionts. The main goal is to understand the evolutionary origins, ecological implications, and the chemical and molecular basis of insect interactions with mutualistic microbes, as well as with antagonists and the insects’ food plants. [more]
The overarching objective of the research in the Department of Molecular Ecology is to manipulate ecological interactions in nature to identify traits that are demonstrably important for an organism's Darwinian fitness in the complexity of interactions that occur in nature. The scientists focus on plant-mediated interactions and have developed an ecological expression system with a native plant that has a rich suite of ecological interactions: the wild tobacco species Nicotiana attenuata. [more]
Plant natural products are of high ecological, evolutionary and pharmaceutical importance. In our group we try to elucidate their biosynthetic pathways and structures and to use this knowledge to produce novel metabolic pathways and substances in model organisms. Our focus is on alkaloids and iridoids. [more]
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