Prof. Dr. Ralf Stanewsky joins MGSE as Principal Investigator
Prof. Dr. Ralf Stanewsky has become a Principal Investigator of the MGSE. As Professor for Molecular Behavioural Genetics at the Institute for Neuro and Behavioural Biology, Stanewsky works at the University of Münster since 2016. He studies biological rhythms of Drosophila melanogaster, in particular the molecular mechanisms underlying the daily resetting of the circadian clock to regular changes of the environment, by using genetic, molecular, histological and behavioural approaches.
We are pleased to welcome Prof. Dr. Stanewsky as a new member and look forward to all upcoming collaborations with him.
Members celebrate merging of MGSE and EvoPAD
On 6 September 2022, members of the MGSE and the Research Training Group „Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease” (EvoPAD) celebrated their fusion with scientific talks, various interactive formats and a closing BBQ. The programme included talks by PhD students Özge Şahin and Elena Groneberg, MGSE and EvoPAD PI Prof. Dr. Michael Quante and Prof. Dr. Klaus Reinhold invited from Bielefeld University. Additionally, the attendees met and exchanged ideas during scientific speed dating and a poster and whiteboard session. The event was organised by MGSE PhD student Murat Bakırdöven and EvoPAD PhD student Marlene Sroka.
We thank all organisers, speakers and attendees for taking part, providing exciting insights and contributing to inspiring discussions!
Joint Summer School of MGSE and EvoPAD
From 22 to 26 August 2022, PhD students of the MGSE and the Research Training Group "Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease" (EvoPAD) came together for a joint Summer School at Kloster Frenswegen in Nordhorn. The attendees took the opportunity to present their research, exchange ideas and learn about the work of other MGSE members and external speakers. Among them were MGSE PIs Dr. Pete Czuppon, Prof. Dr. Melanie Dammhahn, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Dobrindt, Prof. Dr. Joachim Kurtz, Prof. Dr. Michael Quante and Prof. Dr. Jürgen Schmitz. Additionally, the PhD students enjoyed invited talks by former Fellows of the Evolution Think Tank Prof. Dr. Leo W. Beukeboom and Prof. Dr. Sarah Schaack as well as by Prof. Dr. Tim Linksvayer, Prof. Dr. Thomas Bosch and Prof. Dr. Michael Berger. Apart from the scientific programme, the group went on a boat trip on the Vechta while getting to know the city of Nordhorn. The Summer School was organised by MGSE PhD students Ines Hastor and Angelica Coculla together with EvoPAD PhD students Marla Keizers and Imke Temme.
We thank all organisers, attendees and invited guests for contributing to the success of the Summer School!
MGSE welcomes new Principal Investigators Prof. Dr. Melanie Dammhahn and Dr. Lukas Schrader
Prof. Dr. Melanie Dammhahn and Dr. Lukas Schrader have joined the MGSE as Principal Investigators.
Melanie Dammhahn is a Professor for Behavioural Biology at the Institute for Neuro and Behavioural Biology at the University of Münster since this year. Her research focuses on ecological consequences of individual behavioural differences and encompasses interdisciplinary projects incorporating behavioural biology, cognition, evolution and ecology.
Lukas Schrader is a Scientific Assistant in the Molecular Evolution and Sociobiology Group of the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity at the University of Münster since 2017. His work primarily addresses the function and evolution of genomic complexity, currently focusing on advancing the understanding of how structural and compositional differences between genomes arise, how these differences become evident at the phenotypic level, and how selection and drift eventually produce evolutionary change.
We welcome our new members and look forward to collaborating with them!
Das unterschätzte Tier: New book on consequences of our grown knowledge about animals
The way animals are perceived has changed fundamentally over the past decades. Together with MGSE graduates Niklas Kästner and Tobias Zimmermann, MGSE PI Norbert Sachser edited the recently published the book “Das unterschätzte Tier” (“The underestimated animal”) to address the associated societal implications. In the anthology, renowned experts from disciplines as diverse as philosophy, veterinary medicine, law, theology and science of art discuss how much our knowledge about animals has grown and what consequences arise from this for how we treat them – including chapters by MGSE PIs Sylvia Kaiser, Michael Quante, Helene Richter and Norbert Sachser.
New study led by MGSE PIs: Influence of experimenters on results of animal studies less strong than expected
For more than ten years, scientists have been discussing the so-called reproducibility crisis: research results often cannot be reproduced later and/or in other laboratories, even though the studies are conducted under standardised conditions. In animal experimental research, one of the top confounding factors leading to non-reproducible results is the person conducting the experiment. A team of behavioural biologists led by Vanessa von Kortzfleisch and the MGSE PIs Helene Richter, Sylvia Kaiser and Norbert Sachser examined the influence of this factor in behavioural experiments with mice at different locations – the results have now been published in PLOS Biology.
To the surprise of the scientists, the influence of the different experimenters on the experimental results was not as pronounced as previous studies had shown. Instead, the laboratory in which the experiment took place played a much greater role than the experimenter. Another finding that was unexpected for the research team was that the largest proportion of the variance was due to so far unexplainable differences between the individual mice. Unexpected for the research team was also the result that the largest proportion of the variance was due to previously unexplained differences between the individual mice.
The results do not rule out that the experimenter may be a decisive factor. However, they do suggest that the different experimental conditions in the laboratories have a much greater influence than the experimenter, despite standardised conditions.
von Kortzfleisch VT, Ambrée O, Karp NA, Meyer N, Novak J, Palme R, Rosso M, Touma C, Würbel H, Kaiser S, Sachser N, Richter SH (2022) Do multiple experimenters improve the reproducibility of animal studies? PLOS Biology20(5): e3001564
New MGSE Speaker: Joachim Kurtz takes over from Jürgen Gadau
The Steering Committee has unanimously elected Prof. Dr. Joachim Kurtz as new Speaker of the MGSE succeeding Prof. Dr. Jürgen Gadau, who led the Graduate School since 2017. Prof. Gadau will continue working with and for the MGSE as a regular member of the Steering Committee. Prof. Kurtz has been a founding member of the MGSE in 2011 and substantially contributed to its development and success as former Speaker and long-standing member of the Steering Committee.
We thank Prof. Gadau for many years of great engagement and dedication as Speaker of the MGSE and wish Prof. Kurtz all the best as our new Speaker!
New MGSE Principal Investigator: Dr. Peter Czuppon
Dr. Peter Czuppon has joined the MGSE as Principal Investigator. Dr. Czuppon is a mathematical and theoretical biologist working at the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity at the University of Münster since 2021. In his research, he focusses on all sorts of applications of stochastic models in biology, mainly in the context of ecology and evolution with some excursions to models of gene regulatory networks and epidemiology. Besides teaching theoretical biology and statistics, he organises the MGSE lecture series "The Growth of the Evolutionary Thought".
We welcome Dr. Czuppon and look forward to extending the already existing cooperations with him.