Lehrstuhl für Zell- und Entwicklungsbiologie

For two centuries, Cell and Developmental Biology has been a major research focus at the Zoological Institute of the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg. Here, Theodor Boveri founded the chromosome theory of inheritance and Hans Spemann did his famous habilitation.

Today, we provide an inspiring scientific environment for several committed (and young) research groups. We work on basic aspects of membrane biology, as well as on the physics of cells, mammalian meiosis, developmental epigenetics and RNA biology. Importantly, we promote parasites, especially the deadly African trypanosomes and Leishmania, as powerful model systems, without ignoring the huge impact that neglected tropical diseases have, especially in Africa.

All year round we invite guests for lectures, discussion and having a good time: join us on Thursdays for our lecture series!

SPPi Physics of Parasitism - 2nd meeting - February 4, 2019


Co-transcriptional nuclear export

November 12th, 2018

Trypanosomes can start (but not finish!) nuclear export even when transcription and splicing have not been completed. 


Sonja Lorenz

November 15th, 2018 -- A103, 09:15

Elucidating specificity mechanisms in ubiquitin signaling



October 31th, 2018

Collaboration with Thomas Bosch’s lab on the nuclear lamina of non-senescent Hydra published in Aging (Albany, NY).

mRNA decapping enzymes

October 23rd, 2018

The complex enzymology of mRNA decapping: Enzymes of four classes cleave pyrophosphate bonds.


Shulamit Michaeli

October 22th, 2018 -- C102.3, 12:00 noon

Spliced leader level is a signal for life and affects social motility via exosome secretion in trypanosomes


Eva Gluenz

October 18, 2018 -- A103, 09:15 a.m.

Functional dissection of the Leishmania flagellar proteome using CRISPR-Cas9 knockout screens

Prelamin A and aging

October 4th, 2018

New hints about how excess of prelamin A induces muscle fiber weakness during physiological and premature aging.

David Perez-Morga

October 4th, 2018 -- A103, 09:15 a.m.

Human African Trypanosomiasis: Evolution and Cell Death in Trypanosoma brucei.


Marius Glogger

September 26, 2018 -- A101, 01:15 p.m.

PhD defense

Single-molecule fluorescence microscopy in live Trypanosoma brucei and model membranes

Achim Schnaufer

September 20th, 2018 -- A102, 10:45 a.m.

Function and composition of Trypanosoma brucei mitochondrial DNA: use it or lose it.


Beyond Blood!

September 1st, 2018

We have published a review/opinion article in 'Trends in Parasitology', in which we consider the recently extended definition of the interstitium as path for the dispersal of extracellular pathogens.

Farewell to Bonavita Blank!

August 29th, 2018

A unique, historic portrait of the founder of Würzburg Zoology has been moved from our department to the Martin von Wagner Museum, where it will be prominently displayed in the entrance hall.

Methods in meiosis research (2)

August 27, 2018

Marie-Christin Spindler’s experimental protocols published in Methods in Molecular Biology.

Presentation in the Bundeskanzleramt

August 23rd, 2018

Markus Engstler, together with DNTDs and DAHW, presents the Würzburg concept for a Neglected Tropical Diseases Center

Poly(A) binding proteins of Trypanosomes

July 25th, 2018

Comparative proteomics of the two T. brucei PABPs suggests that PABP2 controls bulk mRNA.

Totta Ehret Kasemo

July 16, 2018 -- Seminar A102.3, 11:00 a.m.

Nutrient stress during Giardia dudenalis infection: Who cares about arginine?

Derek Nolan

July 12th, 2018 -- Seminar A102.3, 10:15 a.m.

The lullaby of Sleeping Sickness

Engineering workshop in Wittenberg

July 1, 2018

Markus Engstler delivers evening lecture at the 11th International Workshop on Engineering of Functional Interfaces

Methods in meiosis research (1)

June 28, 2018

Katharina Schücker’s experimental protocols published in Methods in Cell Biology

Roberta Sciurano

June 28, 2018 -- Seminar A102.3, 10:15 a.m.

Meiotic arrest in infertile men due to genetic disturbances

Meiosis at El Escorial

June 20-22, 2018

Keynote lecture by Ricardo Benavente at the 4th Spanish Meiosis Meeting

EMBO Practical Course

June 12-22, 2018

Advanced electron microscopy for cell biology.

Christian Stigloher, together with Gareth Griffiths and Yannick Schwab, has organized this years EM course, which will take place in our Z7 course building.

Gordon Research Conference

June 10-15, 2018

Ricardo Benavente lectured at the Gordon Research Conference on Meiosis (New London, New Hampshire)

Sue Vaughan

June 14th, 2018 -- Seminar A102.3, 10:15 a.m.

How to build a flagellum: Lessons from Trypanosomes

30 Years of Würzburg Africa Festival

May 31th to June 3rd, 2018

Our work featured is as part of the University's Africa initiatives.

Dea Slade

May 30th, 2018 -- Seminar A102.3, 10:15 a.m.

How SPOC executes the Nerve Pinch through transcriptional regulation

Kita forscht

Mai 2018

Im Mai besuchen uns Nachwuchsforscher aus der Kita an der Löwenbrücke, am 7.Mai die Grossen und am 29. Mai die Kleinen. 

Kareem Elsayad

May 5, 2018 -- Seminar C102.3, 10:15 a.m.

Optical Microspectrometry for studying the underlying dynamics of life: from phase transitions to mechano-transduction

Nuclear lamina in C. elegans meiosis

April 23, 2018

Weakening of lamin crosslinks by site specific phosphorylation supports meiotic chromosome movements

Klaus Ersfeld

April 19, 2018 -- Seminar C102.3, 10:15 a.m.

Life cycle differentiation and the cytoskeleton in Trypanosoma brucei

Studie in Berlin vorgestellt

April 10, 2018

Die erste wissenschaftliche Studie zum Beitrag deutscher Institutionen bei der Forschung zu Vernachlässigten Tropenerkrankungen wird im Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) in Berlin vorgestellt. Markus Engstler ist einer der Herausgeber der Studie.

Marie-Christin Spindler

March 28, 2018

Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds awarded Marie a travel grant to take part in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory course on Quantitative Imaging

Visiting scientists

March 28, 2018

We warmly welcome Roberta Sciurano (Buenos Aires) and Fernanda Trovero (Montevideo) who will spend six months in the Benavente lab

Sebastian Zoll

March 26, 2018 -- C101.2, 10:00 a.m.

Trypanosomes' magic bullet – Understanding the structural basis of SRA-mediated immune escape in T. b. rhodesiense

Poster prize for Sarah Schuster

March 23, 2018

Sarah (arrow) receives DGP-poster prize for her tsetse fly work

11 x Berlin

March 21-24, 2018

Eleven of us presented at the Parasitology Meeting in Berlin

The Würzburg Virtual Boveri Library

March 14, 2018

We have launched a comprehensive online resource that features Theodor Boveri's life and work.

Trypanosome on the cover

February 17, 2018

Tim Krüger's (nature-inspired) vision of a trypanobot on the issue cover of Micromachines

Theodor Boveri's legacy

February 16, 2018

Uli Scheer publishes the rediscovery of Boveri's microscope slides in Würzburg.

We offer five new positions for doctoral students

February 14, 2018

Interested in doing your PhD in our interdisciplinary department? Perfect time to join us!

Telomere Complexes in Trypanosomes

February 8, 2018

Novel components of the telomeric shelterin complex were identified in Trypanosome brucei.

Towards Trypanobots - more fiction than science?

February 2, 2018

Science or fiction? Can we design trypanosome-inspired micro-robots? Read our new review.

New Masters module

February 1, 2018

Advance notice for M.Sc. students. Our brand-new module will start in April.


Holger Kress

January 25, 2018 -- A103, 09:15 a.m.

Size-dependent organelle transport during phagocytosis

Nature Microbiology paper featured

January 17, 2018

Our work on VSG structure and dynamics featured by the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF)

Microstructures for microswimmers

January 7, 2018

New review in Cellular Microbiology

Andrew Jonathan Nok (1962 - 2017)

November 21, 2017

Our friend and coworker Prof Andrew Nok has passed away. With deep sorrow we remember his brilliant intellect, his kindness and wonderful sense of humor. Markus Engstler

Bettina Böttcher

November 13, 2017 -- A103, 09:15 a.m.

Electron cryo microscopy as tool in structural biology


November 13, 2017

Find your favorite thesis project! We are continuously updating the selection of topics ...

Ricardo Benavente honored

November 13, 2017

Ricardo Benavente appointed „Investigador Emérito“ by the Clemente-Estable-Institute for Biological Research in Montevideo


BPoD – Biomedical Picture of the Day

November 8, 2017

Sarah's work in eLIFE featured by Cambridge-based BPoD

Gang Dong

November 16, 2017 -- A103, 09:15 a.m.

Structural dissections of the flagellar pocket collar in Trypanosoma brucei and a novel oligomeric lysine methyltranferase from Toxoplasma gondii

The new semester starts ... we are prepared

October 16, 2017

We welcome all new (and old) students to the winter term. Hope you like our lectures, seminars and courses!

Good practice: Summer School Infection Biology

October 12, 2017

The school, co-organized by Susanne Kramer, has been honored by the HRK

Microswimmer School in Cargese

September 18 to 22, 2017

Markus Engstler lectured at the International School "From single particle motion to collective behaviour".

The trypanosome surface coat

September 11, 2017

Our work on the structure-function relationship of VSG published in Nature Microbiology

Trypanosomes in the tsetse fly

August 15, 2017

Sarah's work published in eLife

Georg Borner

July 27, 2017 -- A103, 09:15 a.m.

MPI Biochemie, Martinsried

Dynamic Mapping of Protein Subcellular Localization through Quantitative Proteomics

Helena Reis

July 19, 2017 -- A101, 02:30 p.m.

PhD defence

Helena Reis


July 18, 2017

...we have started to launch our new websites ... will take a while ....

Ger van Zandbergen

July 13, 2017 -- A103, 09:15 a.m.

Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Langen

“Paraphagy”, a new autophagy mechanism for Leishmania immune evasion?

Nina Papavasiliou

June 28, 2017 -- A101, 05:15 p.m.

DKFZ Heidelberg

Adaptive fine tuning of genetic information by DNA mutation and RNA editing


Henriette Zimmermann

June 21, 2017 -- A101, 02:30 p.m.

PhD defence

Henriette Zimmermann


Lehrstuhl für Zoologie I - Zell- und Entwicklungsbiologie
Am Hubland
97074 Würzburg

Tel.: +49 931 31-84250
Fax: +49 931 31-84252

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Hubland Süd, Geb. B1
Hubland Süd, Geb. B1
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Julius-von-Sachs-Platz 2
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Campus Medizin
Campus Medizin