Evonet Early Stage Researcher
Tel: + 44 (0) 1223 336653 or 31772
Fax: +44 (0) 1223 337766
Interests and research
My general interest is in the diversity of embryonic patterning processes that is found throughout the animal kingdom. Before starting my PhD project at Cambridge University in 2009, I did my undergraduate and an M.Sc. in Biology of Organisms in Osnabrück, Germany, with a focus on Evolutionary Developmental Biology.
I work on anterior patterning and head segmentation in arthropods, primarily in the centipede Strigamia maritima. The genome sequence of this species recently became available and I was able to identify within the genome a large set of conserved transcription factors with a putative role in head patterning. By analyzing the expression patterns of these factors in relation to one another and to the expression of signalling molecules I hope to understand the central steps of the head patterning process. A comparison with other arthropods and more distantly related taxa will contribute to our understanding of the evolution of gene networks within the head. Questions I want to address are what aspects of anterior patterning are conserved and how changes in gene expression and interaction have lead to differences in morphogenesis and thus to different specifications of the anterior body region.
This project is part of the European Initial Training Network (EU-ITN) EVONET, a collaboration of eight laboratories in Europe. The aim of the network is to understand the evolution of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) that control mesoderm formation and head regionalisation, with members working on emerging model systems that represent all main animal lineages.
- Hunnekuhl, V.S. & Wolff, C. (2012): Reconstruction of cell lineage and spatiotemporal pattern formation of the mesoderm in the amphipod crustacean Orchestia cavimana. Developmental Dynamics 241:697-717.
- Hunnekuhl, V.S., Bergter, A., Purschke, G. and Paululat, A. (2009) Development and embryonic pattern of body wall musculature in the crassiclitellate Eisenia andrei (Annelida, Clitellata). Journal of Morphology 270: 1122-1136
- Bergter, A., Hunnekuhl, V.S., Schniederjans, M. and Paululat, A. (2007) Evolutionary aspects of pattern formation during clitellate muscle formation. Evolution & Development 9(6): 602-617.