all biology groups at ISTA

Biology at ISTA encompasses a wide variety of research areas, from structural and molecular biology to cell and development biology to systems and evolutionary biology.

Biology is the largest track in the PhD program, and students benefit from a vibrant research community with collaborations within and across sub-fields. State-of-the-art facilities and interactions with chemistry, mathematics, computer science and physics allow scientists to address complex problems with interdisciplinary scope.

  • Here is a video presenting the Biology study track. In case you cannot access YouTube, this video is also available here.

  • Barton Group


  • Here is a video presenting the Barton group, which studies diverse topics in evolutionary genetics. The video has been shot by recent ISTA PhD graduate Eniko Edelsbrunner.

  • Featured Projects:

    Arabidopsis Root Growth

    Friml Group

    To track the growth of plant roots, the Friml group— in cooperation with the Bioimaging Scientific Service Unit—developed a confocal microscope setup for vertical sample mounting. In addition, they developed a custom software called TipTracker, which can automatically track moving objects and record time-lapse series.

    Using this setup, it is possible to study the growth of Arabidopsis roots under different gravity (through rotation of the sample) and light conditions. In addition, TipTracker can even be used to study other non-plant samples, such as zebrafish embryos—an animal model used by one of our PhD students, Vanessa Barone (Heisenberg group), to study embryonic development.

    Watch a time-lapse video showing root growth over time, produced using TipTracker.

    The work was produced by Daniel von Wangenheim, Robert Hauschild, Matyas Fendrych, Vanessa Barone, and Jiri Friml. Read the original paper here:

    Ant queens bury dead to prevent disease

    Christopher Pull

    PhD student, Cremer Group

    Christopher Pull published a study in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology (DOI: 10.1186/s12862-017-1062-4), which suggests that ant queens may bury other queens to prevent pathogen transmission.

    The full press release can be found here on the ISTA main website.

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