Welcome to the Molecular Physiology  

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Zoologisches Institut,
Molekulare Physiologie
Olshausenstraße 40
D-24098 Kiel, Germany

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Zoologisches Institut,
Abteilung Zoophysiologie
Am Botanischen Garten 3-9
D-24118 Kiel, Germany







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Evolution of lifestyle disease associated traits

The major research interest of our group is to understand the evolutionary history of and the molecular framework underlying lifestyle diseases such as asthma, Crohn’s disease, obesity and diabetes as well as Parkinson’s disease. Lifestyle diseases, also known as diseases of civilization, are defined by positive correlations between disease frequency and society development (industrialization) or between disease development and age. Usually, to develop the pathogenic phenotype, genetic predisposition and environmental factors have to come together. Surprisingly, most of the underlying molecular systems are highly conserved throughout evolution. We aim to understand these systems and why they are prone to disease development. Our model organism is the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, which is ideally suited for this purpose. The similarities between flies and men at the different levels of complexity (molecular basis, organ architecture, overall behaviour and performance at the organismal level) are striking. Using the comprehensive toolbox available for the fruit fly, we produce tailored fly models that mimic major phenotypes of the different diseases and use them for in-depth analyses. One special focus of our research is to understand the evolutionary pressure behind the susceptibility to certain environmental factors.
The group provides an international and stimulating environment and welcomes applications from those interested in our work. Work in our group is funded by the DFG (SFB TR22 - Entzündliche Erkrankungen der Lunge), the Cluster of Excellence „Inflammation at Interfaces“, the BMB+F (Project Vision Epifood), the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), and the International Max-Planck Research School on Evolutionary Biology (IMPRS).