Welcome to the Becker Laboratory
Our research group studies the cellular reaction of algal cells to the environment. Major research topic is the regulation of water homeostasis in various systems. Using classical cell biological (video microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, protein biochemistry) and forward and reverse genetic approaches we are investigating the role of the contractile vacuole in osmoregulation in Chlamydomonas. Furthermore, using omics approaches we investigate desiccation tolerance but also the effect of light and temperature stress in lab experiments and natural alpine and polar habitats (Spitzbergen, Arctic; Livingston Island, Antarctica). The latter work concentrates on streptophyte and green algae often associated with biological soil crust and is done in collaboration with research groups in Kaiserslautern, Rostock and Innsbruck. We are also interested in evolutionary questions such as the colonization of the land by streptophyte algae about 470 million years ago, for which the ability to cope with freshwater (osmoregulation) and desiccation tolerance might have been important traits facilitating the colonization event.
We are working currently on the following projects: