The IMPRS unites resources from three major institutions, the University of Kiel, the GEOMAR in Kiel and the MPI in Plön. All of them have state of the art equipment, laboratories and teaching facilities.

major research themes of the IMPRS

Several major research themes are covered by the graduate school. One general theme deals with the analysis of the molecular basis of adaptation in an ecological context. This research question is pursued with a number of model systems, ranging from bacteria, fungi, invertebrates and mammals, and it is based on a strong theoretical background. A second general theme is built around host-parasite interactions, which is addressed using a variety of different research approaches, including field studies, experimental evolution, molecular biological and physiological methods. It addresses general questions of evolutionary biology, including evolution of sex, speciation mechanisms and optimal strategies in changing environments. Several projects deal with the evolution of cooperation, both in the context of evolutionary strategies and economic decision making, using experiments in microorganisms and humans and also mathematical modeling approaches. Another central field addresses the evolution of immune systems across the animal phylogeny, including model systems from distinct taxonomic groups such as Cnidaria, flatworms, nematodes, insects, fishes and mammals. A core topic of the Kiel-Plön research area concerns the evolution and functional importance of the microbiota, which together with its host forms a meta-organism as the unit under selection. The evolution of microbiota-host interactions is studied across animal taxa, including Cnidaria, insects, nematodes, and mammals (incl. humans).


Members of the IMPRS are additionally connected to several priority research areas, excellence clusters or other relevant platforms. The "Kiel Life Science" (KLS) has an excellent global network, where regional cooperations between Kiel University, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön, the Research Center Borstel (FZB), and the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein are fostered. The medical faculty of the University of Kiel houses the genomics infrastructure platform for the excellence cluster "Precision Medicine in Chronic Inflammation" (PMI). Furthermore, the "Kiel Evolution Center" at Kiel University provides an interactive platform that integrates and coordinates evolutionary activities in research, teaching, and public outreach in Kiel and surroundings. The GEOMAR houses central facilities of the excellence cluster "The Future Ocean" (until 2019) with infrastructure platforms in molecular biology.

On the left side, you can find detailed information on the research focus of each working group.

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