Committee Member


Prof. Dr. Hans Merzendorfer

Telephone: +49 271 740 3917
Fax: +49 271 740 13917

University of Siegen
Department of Chemistry-Biology
Institute of Biology
Adolf-Reichwein-Str. 2
57076 Siegen, Germany


Academic Education

1988-1994 Studies of Biology at the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich
1993-1994 Diploma thesis at the Zoological Institute of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich
1994 Diploma examination in Zoology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pharmacology & Toxicology
1994-1998 Dissertation at the Zoological Institute of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich. Title: „Structure and regulation of the insect V-ATPase; Supervisor Prof. Dr. Helmut Wieczorek.
1999 Doctoral examination passed with extinction: “summa cum laude

Academic Career

1999-2007 Research associate and assistant professor at the University of Osnabrück, Department of Biology & Chemistry – Animal Physiology.
2006 Habilitation (equivalent to a second Ph.D., lecturer degree) at the University of Osnabrück. Title: “Molecular physiology of insects: function and regulation of V-ATPases and chitin synthases”
2007-2012 Heisenberg Fellow of the German Research Foundation
2008-2009 Visiting scientist at the Kansas State University, Department of Biochemistry.
2009 Granting of the academic degree “apl. Professor” (equivalent to Adjunct Professor) at the University of Osnabrück
2011-2014 Independent group leader at the Collaborative Research Center 944 “Cellular microcompartments: from analytics to physiology” funded by the German Research Foundation
since 2014 Full Professor for Molecular Biology/Physiology at the Department of Chemistry & Biology, University of Siegen, Germany


  • The thematic focus of my research is centered on chitin metabolism in arthropods and fungi. Chitin is one of the most abundant organic compounds on earth and becomes increasingly important as a renewable resource for the chemical/pharmaceutical industry. To obtain more insight into the process of chitin synthesis, we investigate the expression and regulation of the involved genes, analyze the functions of the derived proteins and dissect the reactions in which they participate. To allow comparative analyses and different experimental strategies, we address these questions in different arthropod model organisms (Aedes aegypti, Manduca sexta, Tribolium castaneum and Tetranychus urticae). We also use the genetic model system Saccharomyces cerevisiae, because it allows us to analyze intracellular maturation and trafficking of the proteins involved in chitin synthesis, and transfer the results to insect cells. The examined proteins including chitin synthases, chitin modifying enzymes and organizing proteins are promising target sites for the action of novel environmentally safe insecticides and miticites. Actually, several classes of commercially launched insecticides and miticides such as benzoylureas and diphenyloxazolines act as chitin synthesis inhibitors. Their mode of action, pharmacology, toxicology and resistance mechanisms are matters of particular interest to us and we address their functions using biochemical, genomic and proteomic tools. We also analyze the chitinous peritrophic matrix (PM), which acts as an anti-infectious barrier in arthropod intestines, to understand the structure-function relations of individual PM proteins differing in type and number of chitin binding domains. Thus, our research is also significant with respect to industrial applications for agriculture and public health; two of my international co-operations deal with this aspect.

Other Committee Members