In this research cluster, we ask theoretically motivated questions in evolutionary biology, such as what determines the ability of the organisms to evolve? How does complex development affect evolutionary trajectories? Or, how does it itself evolve? In pursuit of these goals, we combine theoretical, biometric and experimental research.


Mihaela Pavličev


Research Areas: Developmental evolution, reproductive biology, evolvability, evolutionary medicine

PhD student:

  • Silvia Basanta Martinez

Philipp Mitteröcker

Research Areas: Theoretical evolutionary biology, evolutionary medicine, and biometrics

PhD student:

  • Katharina Stefke
  • Anna Maria Pyttlik 

Joachim Hermisson

Research Areas: Theoretical population genetics, mathematical biology, molecular evolution and adaptation, coalescent theory, gene interactions (epistasis), theory of speciation, evolution of the genotype‐phenotype map, robustness/canalization, evolvability.

Frank Zachos

Research Areas: Biodiversity, Phylogeography, Population/Conservation genetics of mammals and birds, Species concepts, Theoretical foundations of taxonomy, History and Philosophy of Biology

PhD student:

  • Katharina Stefke

Fred Bookstein, emer.

Research Areas: Mathematical  statistics and evolutionary zoology

PhD student:

  • Inga Stolbovaya

Brian Metscher

Research Areas: 3D-Imaging, 3D-Modeling, Evolution, X-ray Computed Tomography

PhD Student:

  • Nina Kraus