People

Group leader

Prof. Dr. Shuqing Xu

E-mail: shuqing.xu@uni-mainz.de

Tel: +49 6131 39 26907

Shuqing Xu obtained his PhD from ETH Zürich under the supervision of Prof. Florian Schiestl and Prof. Alex Widmer in 2011. His PhD thesis focused on the evolution of floral signals in a specialized pollination system. Between 2012 and 2017, he moved to Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena as a project group leader in the Department of Molecular Ecology (led by Prof. Ian Baldwin), where he worked on the evolutionary genetics of plant defences. In 2018, he was appointed as an associate professor (W2) at the University of Münster. Since April 2022 he is the department chair of evolutionary plant sciences at the University of Mainz. He is a father of three children.

 

 

 

Administrative Management

Annette Bessell

E-mail: annette.bessell@uni-mainz.de

Tel: +49 6131 39 28938

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Andrea Schombara

 

Postdoc / junior group leader

Abhisek Chakraborty

E-mail: achakrab@uni-mainz.de

Tel: +49 6131 39 31266

Abhisek joined the group in April 2024. He received his PhD in computational genomics at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal, India in December, 2023. During his PhD, he used a multi-omics approach to understand the adaptive evolution of biological pathways in Eukaryotic organisms. His postdoctoral research at JGU Mainz focuses on revealing the role of autotoxicity protection for defense metabolism innovations in Solanaceae using a multi-omics approach.

 

 

 

Dr. Christian Uhink

E-mail: uhink@uni-mainz.de

Tel: +49 6131 39 22629

Christian Uhink is responsible for teaching the Botanical Identification Exercises and the Basic Botanical Exercises in the undergraduate programs. He received his PhD working at the Institute of Special Botany at JGU Mainz on the systematics and biogeography of alpine plant groups. He also works as a study manager for the faculty of biology.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Martin Schäfer

E-mail: mschaefer@uni-mainz.de

Tel: +49 6131 39 29159

Martin joined the group in May 2018. He received his PhD from the University of Jena for his work at the Max-Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (Prof. Ian Baldwin) in 2015. He has extensive experience with analytic chemistry and is interested in studying the mechanisms and functions of plant chemical defences. He is currently in charge of the molecular and analytic platforms in the group. He is also working on an ongoing project that investigates whether and how aphids herbivory on duckweed affects the evolution of aquatic communities.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Nijat Narimanov

E-mail: nnariman@uni-mainz.de

Tel: +49 6131 39 29234

Nijat joined the group in June 2022. He received his PhD in community and behavioural ecology at the  University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany in 2022. He is interested in understanding the mechanisms and consequences of animal behaviour. He is currently working on the role of niche choice on host plant adaptation in Colorado potato beetles. His project is part of the NC3 initiative.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Pablo Duchen

E-mail: pduchnbo@uni-mainz.de

Pablo joined the group in July 2021 as a junior group leader. He received his PhD in theoretical population genetics at the University of Munich (Prof. Wolfgang Stephan), Germany in 2014. His research concerns the evolution of adaptation at both the population genomic and phenotypic levels, as well as the link between these levels. His approach is computational and theoretical, with direct applications to real biological datasets. He is currently leading a sub research group in the department.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Patrycja Baraniecka

Patrycja joined the group in June 2024. She obtained her PhD at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK, focusing on plant metabolism and mineral nutrition. In 2019 she moved to the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena to research mate selection and reproduction mechanisms of wild tobacco. At JGU, she is developing a synthetic biology toolbox to study the evolution of specialized secondary metabolites.

 

 

 

 

PhD student

Alitha Edison

E-mail: aedison@uni-mainz.de

Alitha joined the group in December 2019 after her master's degree from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research. She is interested in understanding the mechanisms of behavioural resistance in Colorado potato beetles. Her project is part of the NC3 initiative.

 

 

 

 

 

Himrekha Agarwal

E-mail: hagarwal@uni-mainz.de

Himrekha joined the group in May, 2023 after receiving her master's degree from the University of Mumbai, India. She is working on the mechanisms underlying neurotoxin self-tolerance and its evolution in Colorado Potato Beetles. She is co-supervised by Prof. Marion Silies.. Her project is a part of the GenEvo Research Training group.

 

 

 

 

 

Kris Künemund

E-mail: kkuenemu@uni-mainz.de

Kris joined the group in 2023 after completing his master’s degree at the University of Hamburg earlier that year. Kris has a strong interest in plant genetics and genome editing and uses duckweeds and Arabidopsis as plant systems. He investigates the optimization of transformation protocols and changes in biochemistry caused by genome editing.

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Böttner

E-mail: boettner@uni-muenster.de

Laura started her PhD in April 2018. She is interested in understanding how microbiome and herbivores jointly shape the evolution of plant defences. She uses both dandelion and duckweed as her study systems. She is co-supervised by Prof. Dr Meret Huber and Prof. Dirk Prüfer.

 

 

 

 

 

Léonore Wilhelm

E-mail: lwilhe02@uni-mainz.de

Léonore joined the group in July 2022, after receiving her master's degree at Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris. She is interested in using molecular tools to understand the evolution of important traits. She is currently working on the evolution of a neurotoxin in Colorado potato beetles. Her project is part of the GenEvo research training group. She is co-supervised by Prof. Marion Silies.

 

 

 

 

 

Martin Höfer

E-mail: mahoefer@uni-mainz.de

Martin joined the group in February 2020 after receiving his master's degree at the University of Jena, Germany. He is interested in molecular mechanisms of stress resistance. He is currently working on deciphering the molecular mechanisms of non-targeted herbicide resistance in S. polyrhiza. He has been also working on optimizing the transformation protocol in duckweed. He is working on the MapNTSR project.

 

 

 

 

 

Sara Nouere

E-mail: snouere@uni-mainz.de

Sara joined the group in September 2021. She received her master's degree from the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies in Bari, Italy. She is interested in understanding how microbes affect the function and evolution of plant defences. She is working on the EvolTroph project.

 

 

 

 

 

Yangzi Wang

E-mail: ywang@uni-mainz.de

Yangzi joined the group in April 2019, after working as a bioinformatician at BGI. He is interested in understanding the evolution of organisms by decoding genomic data. He is currently working on analyzing the population genomic data of S. polyrhiza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MSc student

Aleksandra Varenikova

E-mail: avarenik@students.uni-mainz.de

Master student working on demography of Lemna aequinoctialis and HiWi helping with CPB projects. Joined the group in 2022.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Víctor Cáceres Singh

E-mail: vcceress@students.uni-mainz.de

Víctor received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in 2021 and he is currently working on his Master Thesis, which consist of theoretical research on the possibility of replacing soybean imported as a source of protein in animal feed with locally produced Spirodela polyrhiza

 

 

 

 

BSc student

Annika Tamara Pins

E-mail: apins01@students.uni-mainz.de

Annika joined the group in 2023 for her bachelor thesis. She is working on the phenotypic effects of diterpene synthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana.

 

 

 

 

 

Technical assistant

Uschi Martiné

E-mail: u.martine@uni-mainz.de

Tel: +49 6131 39 23122

Thoomke Brüning

E-mail: tbruenin@uni-mainz.de

Tel: +49 6131 39 29954

 

 

 

Alumni

Prof. Antonino Malacrinò (postdoc in the group)

Prof. Wenwu Zhou (postdoc in the group)

Nesma Mohamed (guest scientist)

Dr. Ling Lin (guest scientist)

Lanlan Ke (guest scientist)

Dr. Zhihao Lin (PhD student)

Dr. Thomas Brockmöller (PhD student)

Marina Hölter (MSc student)

Hanna Kertzel (BSc student)

Maximilian Hackhausen (BSc student)

Jonas Nikolaus Bachofer (BSc student)

Luise Schmidt (BSc student)

Thomas Schacker (BSc student)

Pauline Prüsener (BSc student)

Samuel Wink (BSc student)

Fabio Dudenhausen (BSc student)

Milena Harnisch (BSc student)

Maximilian Schiefer (BSc student)

Joachim Rikus (BSc student)

Pia te Heesen (BSc student)

Dr. Matthiew Durren (Internship student)