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Summary of our research activities

Pharmacology, Phytomedicine

Plant Secondary metabolism, cell cultures, biotechnology

  • R&D of biorational plant protectants (natural insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, molluscicides)

  • R&D of phytopharmaceuticals (plant drugs)

  • R&D of nutraceuticals

  • Production of bioactive compounds by in vitro methods (root, cell cultures, transformed hairy root cultures)

  • R&D of molecular markers for DNA diagnostics

  • Analysis and expression of genes involved in the biosynthesis of alkaloids

  • Transcriptomics (NGS, RNA-seq) of alkaloid biosynthetic pathways


Bioactive natural products (alkaloids, terpenoids, saponins, isoflavones, glycosides)

Phytochemistry: Terpenoids, Phenolics, Alkaloids
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids

  • Isolation and characterisation

  • Capillary GLC-MS, HPLC

Lupins and quinolizidine alkaloids

  • Isolation and characterisation

  • Capillary GLC, HPLC


  • Quality control for quinolizidine (lupin),pyrrolizidine and solanum alkaloids and other natural products and toxins


Pharmacology & toxicology of natural products or phytopharmaceutical drugs

Pharmacology, Pytomedicine

  • Determination of the mode of action (elucidation of molecular targets), e.g. binding to neuroreceptors, interaction with ion channels and other elements of signal transduction, DNA, RNA, protein biosynthesis, biomembranes, haemolysis, enzyme inhibition, antioxidants

  • Utilisation of C. elegans to study the action of antioxidants and their influence on aging and neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer, Parkinson, Huntington)

  • Modulation of telomerase in tumour cells

  • Modulation of ABC transporters by natural products

  • Induction of apoptosis or necrosis by natural products in tumour cells and trypanosomes

  • HET-CAM assay for anti-inflammatory activities, angiogenesis, irritation

  • Antidiabetic and estrogenic properties of natural products

  • Isolation, characterisation, cloning and expression of membrane transporters

  • Proteomics of membrane proteins

  • Role of ABC transporters for uptake or export of drugs

  • Uptake mechanism of secondary metabolites across intestinal epithelia

  • RNA-seq of cells after treatment with natural product


Chemical Ecology

  • Role & evolution of secondary metabolites in plants and herbivores

  • Induction of secondary metabolite formation by wounding or herbivory

  • Evolution of tolerance or insensitivity towards acquired defence chemicals in herbivores

  • Coevolution between plants and insects

  • Geophagy as a strategy to detoxify diets rich in secondary metabolites

  • Degradation of dietary secondary metabolites by ruminants and slugs


Molecular evolution / molecular ecology

  • Evolution of breeding systems and paternity analysis (reed warblers, falcons, shearwater, owls,king fisher etc); analysis by DNA fingerprinting and microsatellite PCR

  • Population genetics and island biogeography (Aegean sea; Macaronesia; Tonga Islands; Sokotra, Madagascar)

  • Molecular phylogeny & phylogeography of diurnal raptors (Accipitridae, Pandionidae, Cathartidae, Falconidae), owls, anseriformes, flamingos, hornbills, hoooes, parrots, bustards, gulls, shrikes, warblers, turdids, tits etc. (analysis of nucleotide sequences of mtDNA, ncDNA, genomic fingerprinting with ISSR-PCR)

  • Molecular phylogeny & phylogeography of reptiles (snakes, lizzards, agamids, turtles), fish (Mormyridae)

  • Molecular phylogeny & phylogeography of plants (Fabaceae, Solanaceae, Labiatae, Asphodelaceae, Cycadaceae) (analysis of rbcL, matk, atpb, ITS I&II, ISSR-PCR)

  • Genomics (NGS) for 10BK project

  • Genomics (NGS): SNP analysis of Oenanthe oenanthe and Lanius collurio to establish a connectivity between breeding, migrating and wintering populations

  • Transcriptomics (NGS, RNA-seq): Changes of gene expression during migration phase

  • Adaptions in vultures: Microbiomes, transcriptomes

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