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The Division of Genetics studies the biology of pro- and eukaryotic model organisms (E. coli, wine, beer, and baker’s yeast, other yeasts and fungi). Interests are both in basic science and applied aspects in the frame of signal transduction under stress, as well as the regulation of central carbohydrate metabolism. Applications relate to biotechnology (alcohol production, production of pharmaceutical proteins) and to medicine (causes of cancer, treatment of pathogenic fungi).

Research topics

  • Signal transduction in oxidative stress response
  • Signal transduction in fungal cell wall biosynthesis
  • Regulation of filamentous growth in fungi
  • Regulation of central carbohydrate metabolism in yeasts and bacteria

Model systems

  • MAPK-mediated signal transduction in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Kluyveromyces lactis
  • Growth and distribution of the fungus Ashbya gossypii
  • Glycolysis and pentose phosphate pathway in E. coli, milk and baker’s yeast
  • Genetics of the wine yeast Hanseniaspora uvarum


  • Classical yeast genetics and tetrad analysis
  • Construction and investigation of deletion and point mutants by modern molecular techniques
  • Epistasis analyses to decode complex regulatory networks
  • Fluorescence microscopy to study intracellular protein distribution
  • Synthetic biology, genomics and metabolomics
  • Determinination of specific enzyme activities

Selected publications

Bertels L-K, Fernández Murillo L, Heinisch JJ (2021) The pentose phosphate pathway in yeasts – more than a poor cousin of glycolysis. Biomolecules, 11, 725, doi: 10.3390/biom11050725. pdf

Hühn J, Musielak M, Schmitz HP, Heinisch JJ (2020) Fungal homologues of human Rac1 as emerging players in signal transduction and morphogenesis. Interntl Microbiol, 23, 43-53, doi: 10.1007/s10123-019-00077-1. pdf

Heinisch JJ, Rodicio R (2018) Protein kinase C in fungi - more than just cell wall integrity. FEMS Microbiol Rev, 42, 22-39, doi: 10.1093/femsre/fux051. pdf

Further principal investigators

PD Dr. Knut Jahreis

PD Dr. Hans-Peter Schmitz