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Zoology and Developmental Biology

Prof. Dr. Achim Paululat

Prof. Dr. Achim Paululat

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The Department of Zoology and Developmental Biology studies the genetic basis of tissue and organ development in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. We focus on deciphering the molecular and developmental processes that lead to the formation of the muscles, heart and excretory system. In addition to our basic research, we work together with human geneticists to establish Drosophila models for inherited human heart diseases (cardiomyopathies).

Research topics

  • Animal models for human hereditary diseases
  • Organ differentiation and function
  • Genetic regulation of developmental processes

Model systems

  • Drosophila models for human diseases
  • Heart development and function (cardiogenesis)
  • Cell-cell fusion (myogenesis)
  • Endomembrane dynamics in Drosophila cells
  • Extracellular matrix of the heart


  • CRISPR-Cas9, transgenic Drosophila
  • Molecular- and classical genetics, protein networks, proteomics
  • Heart performance measurements, heart beating, life span, locomotion)
  • Developmental biology methods, immunostaining, developmental expression profiling
  • Confocal laser scanning microscopy, Light-Sheet-microscopy, DNA-Paint
  • Transmission and scanning electron microscopy

Selected publications

Dehnen L, Janz M, Kumar Vermar J, Psathaki OE, Langemeyer L, Fröhlich F, Heinisch, JJ, Meyer H., Ungermann C, Paululat A (2021) A trimeric metazoan Rab7 GEF complex is crucial for endocytosis and scavenger function. J Cell Sci, 133 (13) jcs.247080, doi: 10.1242/jcs.247080. pdf

Drechsler M, Meyer H, Wilmes AC, Paululat A (2018) APC/CFzr regulates cardiac and myoblast cell numbers and plays a crucial role during myoblast fusion. J Cell Sci 131(14), pii: jcs209155, doi: 10.1242/jcs.209155. pdf

Psathaki EO, Dehnen L, Hartley PS, Paululat A (2018) Drosophila pericardial nephrocyte ultrastructure changes during ageing. Mech Ageing Dev. 173: 9-20. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2018.04.006 pdf

Further principal investigators

Dr. Heiko Harten

apl. Prof. Dr. Günter Purschke