• Research Areas

    • Evolution of immune systems
    • Host-parasite coevolution
    • Evolutionary ecology of parasites
  • CV


    Dr. rer. nat. (Biology, Zoology), University of Bonn
    Studies in Biology (Diplom), University of Cologne
    Studies in Biology (Vordiplom), University of Göttingen


    Vice Dean for Structure and International Affairs, Faculty of Biology, University of Münster
    Professor W3 of Biology (Zoology), University of Münster
    Visiting scientist, University of Padua, Italy
    Fellow and Convenor, Institute of Advanced Study Berlin
    Research associate, Institute for Integrative Biology, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
    Research associate, Max-Planck Institute for Limnology, Plön
    Visiting scientist; University of Sheffield, UK
    Cummunity service, Naturschutzstation Wesel


    "Der Goldene Hans" 2009 - Award of the student council - Students council of the biology department, University of Münster
    Fellowship of the Institute of Advanced Study 2006/2007 - Institute of Advanced Study

    External functions

    Speaker: DFG RTG 2220 'EvoPAD: Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease'
    Member of the Editorial Board 'Frontiers in Immunology'
    Member of the Editorial Board of 'Experimental Parasitology'
    Member of the Faculty of 1000, Biology
    Speaker of the 'Münster Graduate School of Evolution' (MGSE)
    Speaker of DFG SPP 1399 ‘Host-Parasite Coevolution’
    Member of the scientific council of the Max-Planck Society
  • Projects

    In Progress
    • CRC TRR 212 C01 - The role of niche construction and evolutionary capacitance for evolvability in the Red Flour Beetle, Tribolium castaneum ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Collaborative Research Centre | Project Number: TRR 212/1
    • NC3 - CRC 212 - A Novel Synthesis of Individualisation across Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Collaborative Research Centre | Project Number: TRR 212/1
    • RTG 2220 EvoPAD - RTG 2220 - Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Research Training Group | Project Number: GRK 2220/1
    • SPP 1819 - Subproject: The role of phenotypic plasticity for rapid evolutionary adaptation: theoretical and experimental approaches using Tribolium castaneum and Bacillus thuringiensis ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Priority Programme | Project Number: KU 1929/8-1
    • MGSE - Münster Graduate School of Evolution - Unterstützung des Evolution Think Tank ( - )
      Third-party funding : Santander Consumer Bank AG
    • SPP 1399 - Work Package: Coevulution between Tribolium Castaneum and Bacillus Thuringiensis: On the Evolutionary Significance of Genetic Specificity and Specific Immunity (2nd funding period) ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Priority Programme | Project Number: KU 1929/4-2
    • SPP 1399 - Work Package: Programme Coordination for the Priority Programme SPP 1399 on Host-Parasite Coevolution ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Priority Programme | Project Number: KU 1929/7-1
    • SPP 1399: Host-Parasite Coevolution - Rapid Reciprocal Adaptation and its Genetic Basis ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Priority Programme
    • Post doctoral project of Dr. Maike Diddens-de Buhr: "Transgenerational immunity – mechanisms and fitness consequences in an invertebrate, the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum" ( - )
      Third-party funding : VolkswagenStiftung | Project Number: I/84 794
    • SPP 1399 - Work package: Host-Parasite Coevolution – Programme coordination and meta-analysis of Host-Parasite Coevolution ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Priority Programme | Project Number: KU 1929/5-1
    • SPP 1399 - Work package: Coevulution between Tribolium castaneum and Bacillus thuringiensis: On the evolutionary significance of genetic specificity and specific immunity. ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Priority Programme | Project Number: KU 1929/4-1:1
    • Post doctoral stipend of Dr. Sophie Armitage "Insect evolutionary immunology: the role of the Dscam gene in host-parasite coevolution" ( - )
      Third-party funding : VolkswagenStiftung | Project Number: I/83 516
    • Durchführung des 1. Statussymposiums der Initiative Evolutionsbiologie der Volkswagenstiftung ()
      Third-party funding : VolkswagenStiftung | Project Number: I/84 252
  • Publications

    • Desjardins E, Kurtz J, Kranke N, Lindeza A, Richter SH. . ‘Beyond standardization: Improving external validity and reproducibility in experimental evolution.’ BioScience biab008. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biab008.

    • Demandt N, Saus B, Kurvers RHJM, Krause J, Kurtz J, Scharsack JP. . ‘Parasite-infected sticklebacks increase the risk-taking behaviour of uninfected group members.’ PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 285, No. 1881. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0956.
    • Kutzer MAM, Kurtz J, Armitage SAO. . ‘Genotype and diet affect resistance, survival, and fecundity but not fecundity tolerance.’ JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY 31, No. 1: 159-171. doi: 10.1111/jeb.13211.
    • Schulz NKE, Diddens-de Buhr MF, Kurtz J. . ‘Paternal knockdown of Dnmt2 increases offspring susceptibility to bacterial infection.’ bioRxiv 2018: 422063.
    • Schulz NKE, Wagner CI, Ebeling J, Raddatz G, Diddens-de Buhr MF, Lyko F, Kurtz J. . ‘Dnmt1 has an essential function despite the absence of CpG DNA methylation in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum.’ SCIENTIFIC REPORTS 8. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-34701-3.
    • Wohlleben AM, Franke F, Hamley M, Kurtz J, Scharsack JP. . ‘Early stages of infection of three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) with the cestode Schistocephalus solidus.’ JOURNAL OF FISH DISEASES 41, No. 11: 1701-1708. doi: 10.1111/jfd.12876.

    • Armitage SAO, Freiburg RY, Kurtz J, Bravo IG. . ‘The evolution of Dscam genes across the arthropods.BMC Evolutionary Biology 12: 53. doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-12-53.
    • Scharsack JP, Schweyen H, Schmidt AM, Dittmar J, Reusch TBH, Kurtz J. . ‘Population genetic dynamics of three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in anthropogenic altered habitats.’ ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION 2, No. 6: 1122-1143. doi: 10.1002/ece3.232.

    • Roth O, Joop G, Eggert H, Hilbert J, Daniel J, Schmid-Hempel P, Kurtz J. . ‘Paternally derived immune priming for offspring in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum.’ JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY 79, No. 2: 403-413. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2009.01617.x.
    • Roth O, Kurtz J, Reusch TBH. . ‘A summer heat wave decreases the immunocompetence of the mesograzer, Idotea baltica.’ MARINE BIOLOGY 157, No. 7: 1605-1611. doi: 10.1007/s00227-010-1433-5.

    • Hammerschmidt K, Kurtz J. . ‘Ecological Immunology of a Tapeworms' Interaction with its Two Consecutive Hosts.’68: 111+. doi: 10.1016/S0065-308X(08)00605-2.
    • Roth O, Kurtz J. . ‘Phagocytosis mediates specificity in the immune defence of an invertebrate, the woodlouse Porcellio scaber (Crustacea: Isopoda).’ DEVELOPMENTAL AND COMPARATIVE IMMUNOLOGY 33, No. 11: 1151-1155. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2009.04.005.
    • Roth O, Sadd BM, Schmid-Hempel P, Kurtz J. . ‘Strain-specific priming of resistance in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum.’ PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 276, No. 1654: 145-151. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1157.
    • Schulenburg H, Kurtz J, Moret Y, Siva-Jothy MT. . ‘Ecological immunology.’ PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 364, No. 1513: 3-14. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0249.
    • Schulenburg H, Kurtz J, Moret Y, Siva-Jothy MT. . Introduction. Ecological immunology.’ Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 364, No. 1513: 3-14. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0249.

    • Roth O, Kurtz J. . ‘The stimulation of immune defence accelerates development in the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum).’ JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY 21, No. 6: 1703-1710. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2008.01584.x.

    • Hammerschmidt K, Kurtz J. . ‘Schistocephalus solidus: Establishment of tapeworms in sticklebacks - fast food or fast lane?EXPERIMENTAL PARASITOLOGY 116, No. 2: 142-149. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2006.12.013.
    • Krobbach CK, Kalbe M, Kurtz J, Scharsack JP. . ‘Infectivity of two nematode parasites, Camallanus lacustris and Anguillicola crassus, in a paratenic host, the three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus.’ DISEASES OF AQUATIC ORGANISMS 74, No. 2: 119-126. doi: 10.3354/dao074119.
    • Kurtz J. . ‘The correlation between immunocompetence and an ornament trait changes over lifetime in Panorpa vulgaris scorpionflies.’ ZOOLOGY 110, No. 5: 336-343. doi: 10.1016/j.zool.2007.07.001.
    • Kurtz J. . Big fleas have little fleas: How discoveries of invertebrate diseases are advancing modern science.. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.20696.
    • Kurtz J, Kalbe M, Langefors S, Mayer I, Milinski M, Hasselquist D. . ‘An experimental test of the immunocompetence handicap hypothesis in a teleost fish: 11-ketotestosterone suppresses innate immunity in three-spined sticklebacks.’ AMERICAN NATURALIST 170, No. 4: 509-519. doi: 10.1086/521316.
    • Kurtz J, Scharsack JP. . Resistance is skin-deep: innate immunity may help amphibians to survive a deadly fungus. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2007.00149.x.
    • Kurtz J., Scharsack J.P. . Resistance is skin-deep: Innate immunity may help amphibians to survive a deadly fungus.’ Animal Conservation 10, No. 4: 422-424. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2007.00149.x.

    • Kalbe M, Kurtz J. . ‘Local differences in immunocompetence reflect resistance of sticklebacks against the eye fluke Diplostomum pseudospathaceum.’ PARASITOLOGY 132, No. Part 1: 105-116. doi: 10.1017/S0031182005008681.
    • Kurtz J, Armitage SAO. . ‘Alternative adaptive immunity in invertebrates.’ TRENDS IN IMMUNOLOGY 27, No. 11: 493-496. doi: 10.1016/j.it.2006.09.001.
    • Kurtz J, Hammerschmidt K. . ‘Resistance against heterogeneous sequential infections: experimental studies with a tapeworm and its copepod host.’ JOURNAL OF HELMINTHOLOGY 80, No. 2: 199-206. doi: 10.1079/JOH2006349.
    • Kurtz J, Wegner KM, Kalbe M, Reusch TBH, Schaschl H, Hasselquist D, Milinski M. . ‘MHC genes and oxidative stress in sticklebacks: an immuno-ecological approach.’ PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 273, No. 1592: 1407-1414. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2005.3450.
    • Wegner K, Kalbe M, Rauch G, Kurtz J, Schaschl H, Reusch T. . ‘Genetic variation in MHC class II expression and interactions with MHC sequence polymorphism in three-spined sticklebacks.’ MOLECULAR ECOLOGY 15, No. 4: 1153-1164. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2006.02855.x.

    • Hammerschmidt K, Kurtz J. . ‘Surface carbohydrate composition of a tapeworm in its consecutive intermediate hosts: Individual variation and fitness consequences.’ INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR PARASITOLOGY 35, No. 14: 1499-1507. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2005.08.011.
    • Hammerschmidt K, Kurtz J. . ‘Evolutionary implications of the adaptation to different immune systems in a parasite with a complex life cycle.’ PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 272, No. 1580: 2511-2518. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2005.3241.
    • Irmak P, Kurtz J, Zimmer M. . ‘Immune response in Porcellio scaber (Isopoda : Oniscidea): copper revisited.’ EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF SOIL BIOLOGY 41, No. 3-4: 77-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ejsobi.2005.09.011.
    • Jacot A, Scheuber H, Kurtz J, Brinkhof M. . ‘Juvenile immune status affects the expression of a sexually selected trait in field crickets.’ JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY 18, No. 4: 1060-1068. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2005.00899.x.
    • Jacot A, Scheuber H, Kurtz J, Brinkhof M. . ‘Juvenile immune system activation induces a costly upregulation of adult immunity in field crickets Gryllus campestris.’ PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON SERIES B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 272, No. 1558: 63-69. doi: 10.1098/rspc.2004.2919.
    • Kurtz J. . ‘Specific memory within innate immune systems.’ TRENDS IN IMMUNOLOGY 26, No. 4: 186-192. doi: 10.1016/j.it.2005.02.001.

    • Field S, Kurtz J, Cooper E, Michiels N. . ‘Evaluation of an innate immune reaction to parasites in earthworms.’ JOURNAL OF INVERTEBRATE PATHOLOGY 86, No. 1-2: 45-49. doi: 10.1016/j.jiip.2004.04.001.
    • Hammerschmidt K, Kurtz J. . ‘Following a parasite through its life cycle: how tough is it to cope with different immune systems?INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGY 293, No. Suppl. 38: 53.
    • Kurtz J. . ‘Memory in the innate and adaptive immune systems.’ MICROBES AND INFECTION 6, No. 15: 1410-1417. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2004.10.002.
    • Kurtz J, Kalbe M, Aeschlimann P, Haberli M, Wegner K, Reusch T, Milinski M. . ‘Major histocompatibility complex diversity influences parasite resistance and innate immunity in sticklebacks.’ PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON SERIES B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 271, No. 1535: 197-204. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2567.
    • Scharsack J, Kalbe M, Derner R, Kurtz J, Milinski M. . ‘Modulation of granulocyte responses in three-spined sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus infected with the tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus.’ DISEASES OF AQUATIC ORGANISMS 59, No. 2: 141-150. doi: 10.3354/dao059141.
    • Scharsack J.P., Kalbe M., Derner R., Kurtz J., Milinski M. . Modulation of granulocyte responses in three-spined sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus infected with the tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus.’ Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 59, No. 2: 141-150.
    • Wegner K, Kalbe M, Kurtz J, Reusch T, Milinski M. . ‘Response to comment on ''Parasite selection for immunogenetic optimality{''}}.’ SCIENCE 303, No. 5660. doi: 10.1126/science.1093355.

    • Kurtz J. . ‘Sex, parasites and resistance - an evolutionary approach.’ ZOOLOGY 106, No. 4: 327-339. doi: 10.1078/0944-2006-00126.
    • Kurtz J, Franz K. . ‘Evidence for memory in invertebrate immunity.’ NATURE 425, No. 6953: 37-38. doi: 10.1038/425037a.
    • Wegner K, Kalbe M, Kurtz J, Reusch T, Milinski M. . ‘Parasite selection for immunogenetic optimality.’ SCIENCE 301, No. 5638: 1343. doi: 10.1126/science.1088293.

    • Christen M, Kurtz J, Milinski M. . ‘Outcrossing increases infection success and competitive ability: Experimental evidence from a hermaphrodite parasite.’ EVOLUTION 56, No. 11: 2243-2251.
    • Franz K, Kurtz J. . ‘Altered host behaviour: manipulation or energy depletion in tapeworm-infected copepods?PARASITOLOGY 125, No. Part 2: 187-196. doi: 10.1017/S0031182002001932.
    • Kurtz J. . ‘Phagocytosis by invertebrate hemocytes: Causes of individual variation in Panorpa vulgaris scorpionflies.’ MICROSCOPY RESEARCH AND TECHNIQUE 57, No. 6: 456-468. doi: 10.1002/jemt.10099.
    • Kurtz J, Klappert K, Schneider W, Reinhold K. . ‘Immune defence, dispersal and local adaptation.’ EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY RESEARCH 4, No. 3: 431-439.
    • Kurtz J, van der Veen I, Christen M. . ‘Fluorescent vital labeling to track cestodes in a copepod intermediate host.’ EXPERIMENTAL PARASITOLOGY 100, No. 1: 36-43. doi: 10.1006/expr.2001.4681.
    • Kurtz J, van der Veen I, Ryder J. . ‘Ecological immunity of arthropods - a thread of Ariadne?TRENDS IN ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION 17, No. 5: 204-205. doi: 10.1016/S0169-5347(02)02457-6.
    • Reinhold K, Kurtz J, Engqvist L. . ‘Cryptic male choice: sperm allocation strategies when female quality varies.’ JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY 15, No. 2: 201-209. doi: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00390.x.
    • Van der Veen I, Kurtz J. . ‘To avoid or eliminate: cestode infections in copepods.’ PARASITOLOGY 124, No. Part 4: 465-474. doi: 10.1017/S0031182001001275.

    • Kurtz J, Sauer K. . ‘Gender differences in phenoloxidase activity of Panorpa vulgaris hemocytes.’ JOURNAL OF INVERTEBRATE PATHOLOGY 78, No. 1: 53-55. doi: 10.1006/jipa.2001.5040.

    • Kurtz J, Nahif A, Sauer K. . ‘Phagocytosis of Vairimorpha sp (Microsporida, Nosematidae) spores by Plutella xylostella and Panorpa vulgaris hemocytes.’ JOURNAL OF INVERTEBRATE PATHOLOGY 75, No. 3: 237-239. doi: 10.1006/jipa.1999.4909.
    • Kurtz J, Reinhold K, Engqvist L. . ‘Immunosuppression under stress: necessary for condition-dependent signalling?TRENDS IN ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION 15, No. 10: 418-419. doi: 10.1016/S0169-5347(00)01969-8.
    • Kurtz J, Wiesner A, Gotz P, Sauer K. . ‘Gender differences and individual variation in the immune system of the scorpionfly Panorpa vulgaris (Insecta : Mecoptera).’ DEVELOPMENTAL AND COMPARATIVE IMMUNOLOGY 24, No. 1: 1-12. doi: 10.1016/S0145-305X(99)00057-9.
    • Wipking W, Kurtz J. . ‘Genetic variability in the diapause response of the burnet moth Zygaena trifolii (Lepidoptera : Zygaenidae).’ JOURNAL OF INSECT PHYSIOLOGY 46, No. 2: 127-134. doi: 10.1016/S0022-1910(99)00108-0.

    • Kurtz J, Sauer K. . ‘The immunocompetence handicap hypothesis: testing the genetic predictions.’ PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON SERIES B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 266, No. 1437: 2515-2522. doi: 10.1098/rspb.1999.0954.
    • Reinhold K, Engqvist L, Misof B, Kurtz J. . ‘Meiotic drive and evolution of female choice.’ PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON SERIES B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 266, No. 1426: 1341-1345. doi: 10.1098/rspb.1999.0785.

    • Gerken T, Kurtz J, Sauer K, Lubjuhn T. . ‘DNA preparation and efficient microsatellite analysis from insect hemolymph.’ ELECTROPHORESIS 19, No. 18: 3069-3070. doi: 10.1002/elps.1150191804.
    • Sauer K, Lubjuhn T, Sindern J, Kullmann H, Kurtz J, Epplen C, Epplen J. . ‘Mating system and sexual selection in the scorpionfly Panorpa vulgaris (Mecoptera : Panorpidae).’ NATURWISSENSCHAFTEN 85, No. 5: 219-228. doi: 10.1007/s001140050487.
  • Supervised Theses

    Supervised Dissertations

    Chitto, MarcoThe genomic stability of the pathogenicity islands of uropathogenic Escherichia coli 536: the role of extrinsic and intrinsic factors
    Zaldastanishvili, ElisabedInvestigation of interaction and adaptation strategies of Escherichia coli in the urinary bladder
    Kästner, NiklasOf anxious males and angry females: how genes related to serotonergic neurotransmission, social experience, and the female reproductive cycle affect anxiety-like and social behaviour in mice
    Schmidt-Drewello, AlexanderBehavioural and physiological trade-off in an invasive freshwater amphipod (Echinogammarus berilloni, CATTA)
    Fischer, JosephinePU.1 dependent epigenetic control of neutrophil activation
    Franke, FrederikParasite-host interaction in a cestode-fish system: Schistocephalus solidus and its obligatory second intermediate host, the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus)
    Peuß, RobertThe molecular underpinnings of phenotypic plasticity in Tribolium castaneum immune responses
    Kutzer, MeganHost immune strategies: remembering, resisting and tolerating
    Momir FutoThe role of microbes as mediators of immune memory in insects
    Eggert, HendrikEvolutionary Ecology of Trans-generational immune priming in Tribolium castaneum
    Milutinovic, BarbaraCoevolution between the red flour beetle and Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria
    Dittmar, JanineReciprocal adaptation of three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and the tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus in different environments
    Schüler, AndreasMolecular Evolution of Proteins in the Pathogen Response
    Pande, AmitEvolutionary Impact of Vertebrate Transposons
    Hiersche, MilanMultifaktorielle Assoziationsmuster con SNP/CNV Daten zu kardiovaskulären Phänotypen
    James Peter, Jessin JaniceEvolution of U12-type intron and its role in gene expression regulation
    Sietmann, AnikaComparative genomics and genetic analysis of hypertensive end organ damage
    Hammerschmidt, KatrinHost parasite interactions in a cestode with a complex life cycle, Schistocephalus solidus

    Supervised Habilitations

    Schmitz, JürgenEchoes from the Past: What Ancient Genomic Insertions say about the Phylogeny of Species
  • Selected Publications