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We are interested in the evolution of peptidergic signaling systems; the emphasis is on neuropeptides from the nervous system of invertebrates. Main topics are the development and utilisation of methods for mass spectrometric-based peptide profiling in identified neurons from the central nervous systems and the analysis of dynamics of cell-to-cell communication. We also develop methods for the typology of arthropod populations using taxon-specific neuropeptide patterns which enable the separation of closely related taxa but also the recognition of hybrid patterns and phylogenetic relationships. These methods are currently used to analyze relationships within the newly described insect order Mantophasmatodea and other lineages of Polyneoptera but also help to study variability of scorpion toxin composition. Other projects focus on the detection of biogenic amines in identified neurons and, within the international project nEUROSTRESSPEP, we target species-specific hormone systems with the long-term objective to fight insect pests by turning their own hormones against them.

Current Funding

  • EU (Horizon 2020), subproject within nEUROSTRESSPEP (grant 634361): Novel biocontrol agents for insect pests from neuroendocrinology http://www.neurostresspep.eu/home
  • DFG PR 766/11-1 Alternativer Ansatz für die biologische Systematik der Polyneoptera (Hexapoda, Insecta): phylogenetische Analyse der Peptidhormone
  • Großgeräteinitiative: DFG PR 766/10-1 (Predel R/Wegener C/ Sweedler JV/ Rössler W / Brüning JC) project: "High resolution Imaging Mass Spectrometry (IMS) of neuropeptides in dynamic systems"
  • NE 911/3-1: Weiterentwicklung massenspektrometrischer Detektionsverfahren zur Analyse von Neurotransmittern/Neuromodulatoren aus identifizierbaren Neuronen der Taufliege Drosophila melanogaster