Senior Scientists

Prof. Dr. Achim Paululat, Head of the Department

achim.paululat (et)

Educated in Biology, Chemistry and Educational Sciences at the WWU University of Münster (Germany), I gained my PhD in Biology. Afterwards I was trained as a postdoctoral fellow and assistent at the Philipps-University Marburg (Germany) with an internship at the HHMI in Boston (USA). I received fellowships from the Dr. Jost Henkel Foundation, the Fritz-ter-Meer-Foundation and the NRW-Foundation. Since 2004 I am leading the Department of Zoology & Developmental Biology at the University of Osnabrück (Germany). Focus of my research centres on developmental biology, muscle and heart physiology. My laboratory uses Drosophila melanogaster as a model organisms and a variety of techniques to answer questions involving different aspects of cardiogenesis, heart maintenance, myogenesis and nephrology. Funding of our research has been/is provided by the DFG, DAAD, FWF, EU-NoE Myores, Israel-Lower Saxony Foundation, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM) and our University - in the past and recently. I have served as the dean of the Biology & Chemistry department in 2007-2008 and 2016-2018. As a speaker of several graduate schools I have been involved in organising educational modules at the PhD level. Recently, I was elected as a consultant “Fachgutachter” at the DFG.

apl. Prof. Dr. Günter Purschke, Senior Scientist and Group Leader

günter.purschke (et)

Educated in Biology and Chemistry, Philosophy and Educational Sciences at the Georg August University in Göttingen, Germany, I earned my PhD in Biology at Göttingen in 1984. I then moved as a scientific assistant (post doc) at the Department of Biology and Chemistry at the University of Osnabrück. After several short-term research fellowships aboard I earned my Venia Legendi in Zoology (Habilitation) at the University of Osnabrück in 1997. After being assistant professor I became an “Extraordinary Professor” in 2004. My research focusses on phylogeny, evolution, systematics and morphology applying a variety of different methods. Special emphasis is laid on annelids, the ringed worms, which constitute one of the most important invertebrate taxa. Especially the marine forms, known as polychaetes, are one of the most widespread, abundant and diverse elements of the marine fauna. Besides ingroup and outgroup relationships, the evolution of certain organ systems within this group and within Metazoa is in the center of my research. I am involved in various book projects, i. a. in editing the annelid volumes of the Handbook of Zoology. I am teaching phylogeny, systematics and marine biology and I am offering excursions to Sylt and Roscoff (Fr) for our students.

Dr. Heiko Harten (formerly Meyer), Senior Scientist and Group Leader


Broadly trained at the University of Osnabrück in all disciplines of Biology, I did my PhD in the department of animal physiology, supervised by Helmut Wieczorek, working on a novel family of disaccharide transporters in Drosophila. After receiving the PhD in 2006, I joined the Zoology-Developmental Biology group to work on peptidases and their functional relevance in tissue differentiation and physiology. Establishing my independent research interests allowed me to join our SFB944 with an own project, funded since 2019. Recently, In 2020, I joined the Furuse laboratory in Okazaki, Japan, for a research internship.

Dr. Maik Drechsler, Independant Young Investigator

maik.drechsler (et)

I studied Biology in Dresden and Osnabrück, where I then received my Master degree. I joined the group of Achim Paululat to work on the cardiac extracellular matrix. For the identification and characterisation of the new ECM protein Lonely heart I received my PhD in 2012. As a PostDoc, I met the laboratory of Isabella Paliacios in Cambridge, UK, to work on actin dynamics in the oocyte. Since 2019 I am back in Osnabrück to establish my own young investigator group to work on the role of the actin nucleator Spire in regulating spatial dynamics of cytoplasmic flow in the oocyte.