I am a developmental biologist fascinated by the diversity of life forms. My research and teaching are both inspired by the immense beauty and complexity of animals.
How did multicellular life emerge? How did animal complexity evolve? In the recent decade, I made several essential contributions to the Evo-Devo field.
With my colleagues, we discovered, for the first time, tumor formation in basal metazoans. We uncovered the critical role of the nuclear envelope structure in the non-senescence of the "immortal" Hydra. Recently, we traced the evolutionary origin and ancestral function of the nervous system. My current research (Research) is focused on the evolution of the nervous system complexity and the developmental role of lineage-restricted genes.
I am a passionate teacher and dedicate myself to training students, mentoring junior researchers, and communicating scientific discoveries to the public (Outreach). A broad spectrum of developmental and molecular cell biology courses is within my competence (Teaching). A field course "Developmental Biology of Marine Invertebrates" is the highlight of my teaching program. Working in the field (Fieldwork) is an excellent opportunity not only to communicate knowledge but to inflict curiosity, enthusiasm (Endorsements) and passion into my students to pursue fundamental research questions
September 6, 2023 - DZG meeting in Kassel
Just presented our recent unpublished work at the 115th Annual Meeting of the German Zoological Society in Kassel. It was my great honour to be an invited speaker of the Section Development Biology. Many thanks to the section speakers - Natascha Turetzek and Nico Posnien for the kindest invitation and introduction. I also appreciate the numerous questions and comments I received after the talk. Thanks for the interest!
Selected Articles and Preprints
March 19, 2020
CAUSATIVE ROLE OF THE MICROBIOME IN TUMOR DEVELOPMENT
Dynamic interactions within the host-associated microbiota cause tumor formation in the basal metazoan Hydra
Rathje et al.
We demonstrate that tumor development in the basal metazoan Hydra is caused by a dynamic interplay between an environmental spirochete, the host-associated resident microbiota. Our study uncovers an evolutionary conserved role of the resident microbiome in guarding host’s tissue homeostasis.
TRANSGENESIS IN HYDRA:
June 03, 2019
Transgenesis in Hydra to characterize gene function and
visualize cell behavior
Klimovich et al.
We describe a procedure for establishment
of stable transgenic Hydra lines by embryo microinjection. The method allows method allows constitutive or inducible gain- and loss-of-function approaches, as well as in vivo tracing of individual cells and thereby dissecting the ancestral circuitry controlling animal development.
PROTOTYPICAL PACEMAKER NEURONS INTERACT WITH MICROBIOTA
July 09, 2020
Prototypical pacemaker neurons interact with the resident microbiota
Klimovich et al.
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
Using a combination of single-cell transcriptomics, immunochemistry, and functional experiments, we
identified and functionally characterized pacemaker cells in the basal metazoan Hydra. We conclude that prototypical pacemaker neurons are immunocompetent cells
capable of interacting with the microbiome.
ROLE OF THE LAMIN PROTEIN
May 10, 2018
Non-senescent Hydra tolerates
in the nuclear lamina
Klimovich et al.
Aging (Albany NY)
We demonstrate that proliferation of stem cells in Hydra is robust against the disturbance of Lamin expression and nuclear envelope structure. This extraordinary robustness may underlie the indefinite self-renewal capacity of stem cells and the non-senescence of Hydra.
NOVEL INSIGHTS INTO THE ANCESTRAL ROLE OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
July 10, 2018
Rethinking the role
of the nervous system: Lessons from the Hydra holobiont
Klimovich and Bosch
We present accumulating evidence for the interaction of the nervous system with the symbiotic microbes. Our findings provide
novel insights into the original role of the nervous system, and suggest that it
emerged to orchestrate multiple functions including host‐microbiome interactions.
THE MICROBIOME MODULATES BEHAVIOUR OF HYDRA
November 21, 2017
Spontaneous body contractions are modulated by the microbiome
Murillo-Rincon et al.
We show that spontaneous body contractions in Hydra are modulated by symbiotic bacteria. Germ-free animals display strongly reduced and less regular contraction frequencies. Our findings point to an evolutionary ancient origin of interactions between the microbiome and the
nerve system in Metazoa.
CNIDARIANS ARE STRATEGIC EXPERIMENTAL SYSTEMS FOR NEUROSCIENCE
December 30, 2016
Back to the basics:
Cnidarians start to fire
Bosch et al.
The nervous systems of cnidarians have great potential to reveal fundamental principles of neural circuits. Here, we review current knowledge on the nervous systems of cnidarian species and propose that researchers should study members of this phylum as strategic experimental systems with great basic and translational relevance for neuroscience.
FIRST EVIDENCE FOR
June 24, 2014
Naturally occurring tumours in
the basal metazoan Hydra
Domazet-Lošo, Klimovich et al.
Here we provide the first evidence
for naturally occurring tumours in
two species of Hydra. Our study shows that spontaneous tumours have deep evolutionary roots and that early branching animals
may be informative in revealing
the fundamental mechanisms
IMPACT OF ENVIRONMENT ON DEVELOPMENT: INSIGHTS FROM BASAL METAZOANS
September 10, 2014
How do environmental factors influence life cycles and development? An experimental framework for early‐diverging metazoans
Bosch et al.
Here, we identify major questions at the interface between animal evolution and development and outline a road map for research aimed at identifying the mechanisms that link environmental factors to developmental mechanisms in early diverging metazoans.