Social status, mate choice, even aggressive behavior as well as navigation of mammalian sperm – a variety of physiological processes and stereotype behaviors is critically dependent on chemosensory signaling mechanisms. Despite the complexity of these processes, the basic functional principle is identical: Detection of chemical stimuli is transduced into a cell specific response via complex biochemical signaling cascades. The main goal of our research group, therefore, is to understand these signaling mechanisms on a molecular and cellular level.
Using state-of-the-art physiological recording methods as well as molecular, biochemical, and behavioral techniques, we investigate the signaling processes underlying the detection of pheromones and other social cues. In this context, the vomeronasal organ – an olfactory subsystem specialized for the detection of semiochemicals – has taken center stage. Our current research, thus, aims to analyze the principle coding logic of pheromone detection, and shed light on the neurophysiological basis of social behavior.
In parallel, we examine the functional role(s) of different receptor proteins in male germ cell development and mammalian sperm chemotaxis.
On our website, we invite you to browse and explore the specific physiological issues we address in our laboratory.