Claudius Kratochwil joins Institute of Biotechnology

PhD Claudius Kratochwil started as a new group leader in January 2021. His research focuses on the molecular, developmental and genomic bases of phenotypic diversification with a particular focus on the evolution of coloration in cichlid fishes.

“The diversity of form and function that we can observe on all levels of biological complexity is one of the most fascinating phenomena of the living world”, says Claudius Kratochwil.

His Integrative Evolutionary Biology (IEB) lab uses the coloration of tropical fish species (especially African cichlids) as a model system to understand how animal acquire new characteristics.

“What changes have to occur in the genome of a fish to become striped, brightly blue or be even able to change colors? And how does this genetic change translates to changes in the adult characteristics? How do changes in development and cell function contribute to such phenotypic changes? These are the kind of questions we are enthusiastic about finding answers to”, Kratochwil describes.

Understanding how life forms change and adapt to the environmental challenges they face is crucial to our understanding of evolution, the stunning biodiversity we can observe in nature and at the end of the day also to better comprehend ourselves as one product of billions of years of evolutionary history.

Kratochwil describes the 2020’s as an exciting time to be a biologist. The development of new technologies permits researchers to answer questions that one could not even think of addressing a decade ago.

“Ten years ago, most research had to focus on a handful model organisms, but today we can study the characteristics of all kinds of exciting species using state-of-the-art methodologies ranging from genome sequencing to genome editing and high-resolution imaging.”

Kratochwil joins Institute of Biotechnology with great pleasure.

“I am really excited and feel honored to be part of this vivid, collaborative research community with truly outstanding researchers.”

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