top of page


The CytoLabs consortium consists of research groups from the Leibniz University of Hannover, The Technical University of Braunschweig, The Helmholtz Center for Infection Research and The Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland. Their expertise includes: the total synthesis and semisynthesis of natural products and molecular tools; biophysical studies of proteins; the discovery and analysis of new natural products from fungi; the discovery and engineering of fungal biosynthetic pathways; eukaryotic cell biology; and chemical ecology. Individual research groups offer expertise in these areas and also collaborate within the consortium and with a wide range of international partners.


HZI pav.jpg



Russell J. Cox

Leibniz University Hannover

Project Coordinator

Professor Russell J. Cox is Speaker of the CytoLabs project. He is Professor of Microbiological Chemistry at the Leibniz University of Hannover. His research is focussed on understanding and engineering the biosynthesis of natural products in fungi.


Christine Beemelmanns

Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland

Group Leader

Dr. Christine Beemelmanns works at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) in the field of Natural Products Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Her research combines different aspects of chemical ecology and organic and natural product chemistry and aims to chemically and functionally characterize microbial signaling and defense molecules in different model systems. 

RJC 12 2019.jpg
Kalesse Ak_Kalesse_Web-3.jpeg

Markus Kalesse

Leibniz University Hannover

Group Leader

Markus Kalesse is Professor for Organic chemistry at the Leibniz University Hannover. His research interests are natural products synthesis with an emphasis on stereospecific transformations. The scope of different natural products ranges from polyketides over non-ribosomal peptides to terpenes. The synthetic targets are selected based on their inherent biological activities. Within the Cytolabs consortium, Markus Kalesse works on synthesizing novel cytochalasins for SAR-studies and further biological investigations. By providing synthetic access to the cytochalasin skeleton one would be able to modify the cytochalasins at virtually each position and by doing so be able to fine-tune their biological properties. Consequently, the group interacts with partners in the consortium who have the expertise of evaluating the biological capabilities of newly synthesized compounds.


Philipp Klahn

University of Gothenburg

Group Leader

Prof. Dr. Philipp Klahn is a group leader for Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Gothenburg. His research focusses on the total and semi synthesis of bioactive natural products, the development of antimicrobial drug-conjugates, bioresponsive molecules and smart fluorophores.


Klemens Rottner

Technische Universität Braunschweig

Group Leader

Professor Klemens Rottner is heading the Division of Molecular Cell Biology in the Zoological Institute of Technical University Braunschweig and a Research Group with the same name at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research. His scientific interests are devoted to uncovering the molecular mechanisms driving the remodeling of actin filaments in cells, with particular emphasis on actin-dependent processes at the plasma membrane, which are involved in cell shape changes, migration and host-pathogen interactions. He is supporting the Cytolabs consortium with his expertise on using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene disruption of actin binding proteins, and with diverse micromanipulation approaches such as local application of cytochalasans during high magnification video microscopy.


Marc Stadler

Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research

Group Leader

Professor Marc Stadler is the head of the department “Microbial Drugs” (MWIS) of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, which is supporting the Cytolabs project by provision of novel cytochalasins from natural sources, relying on the in-house expertise in fungal taxonomy and natural product chemistry. These compounds are being stored in a library, made available for testing by the other partners and subjected to a biological characterization in-house at MWIS. Moreover, interesting natural products will be provided in larger scale for semisynthesis and broad biological studies using the biotechnological production facilities of the HZI, which also belong to MWIS.

Carsten Zeilinger.jpg

Carsten Zeilinger

Leibniz University Hannover

Group Leader

PD Dr. Carsten Zeilinger and his group develop targeted assays for testing isolated or synthesized cytochalasin derivatives. In this context, protein microarrays are developed as a platform to identify first hits on purified target proteins to perform protein-protein, protein-ligand interaction, and SAR analyses, which are also complemented by other bioanalytical techniques (by MST, Raman, ITC, and protein crystallization).

Theresia Stradal

Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research

Group Leader

Professor Theresia Stradal is heading the Department of Cell Biology at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research. The department supports the Cytolabs project by developing and performing cellular and protein biochemical assays, to systematically assess the biological activities of different cytochalasans. For this, the profound expertise on eukaryotic actin remodelling - actin being the prime target of cytochalasans - together with state of the art microscopy is exploited. The collected data on these compounds are casted into a systematic catalogue that can be searched according to chemical structure, source or detected activities, and is made available to other consortium partners.

bottom of page