SBiKF_AG_Klimpel_Aedes albopictusfemale

Research Group

Medical Biodiversity and Parasitology

Infectious diseases are a common cause of human death. With more than 700,000 deaths annually, vector-borne diseases (e.g. malaria, Dengue fever, Chagas disease or leishmaniasis) account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases. Arthropods like mosquitoes, ticks, triatomine bugs, sandflies, blackflies and fleas function as vectors for the transmission of parasites, viruses, or bacteria. Changes of the abiotic and biotic environment influence vector diversity, distribution and abundance, and the direct and indirect consequences for human health may have dramatic medical, ecological and economic impacts.

Reflecting the highly divergent state of current knowledge, we study medically relevant organisms, including parasites, disease vectors (e.g. mosquitoes, rodents, bats) and reservoir hosts. We focus on the population dynamics, ecology, life cycles and transmission mechanisms using a broad spectrum of methods, from specimen-based taxonomy using morphological and molecular approaches, to advanced approaches of phylogeography and niche modelling.

Key topics of our research include:

  • a) the identification and description of new and emerging pathogens, protozoan and metazoan parasites, vectors and reservoir hosts and their present distribution
  • b) the investigation of factors for pathogenicity, vector and intermediate host competence, both in laboratory experiments and in the field
  • c) risk assessments and predictive modelling of vector and pathogen distribution under global and regional models of climate change

Our research may help inform public health planners and the general public on aspects of control, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, parasites and other pathogens caused or transmitted by animals.



Prof. Dr. Sven Klimpel
Professor, Head of Research Group 'Medical Biodiversity and Parasitology'
(Goethe University, Senckenberg Society for Nature Research)

Research interests

My primary research interest is the ecology, evolution and host-parasite co-evolution of aquatic (limnic, marine) and terrestrial protozoan/metazoan parasites and pathogens (e.g. viruses, bacteria, fungi). I am particularly interested in how changes in environmental conditions influence dispersal and migration of parasites/pathogens and their intermediate hosts/vectors. My work integrates a variety of disciplines, such as phylogenetics, systematics, ecology, ichthyology, zoogeography, oceanography, genomics and population genetics. In our lab we combine traditional morphological with up to date molecular techniques.

Student opportunities
Various research projects for MSc and BSc students as well as for short internships are available all year round. They range from field studies, lab experiments/analyses to literature-based meta-analytical approaches. Please contact me for more details.

Short CV
Since 2010 Professor at the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F) and the Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Department of Biological Sciences, Institute of Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity
2004 – 2010 Research Group Leader “Aquatic and Terrestrial Parasitology”
2008 Habilitation in Zoology (Associate Professor), funded by the DFG, DAAD, EU
2004 Research Associate, Institute of Zoomorphology, Cell Biology and Parasitology, Heinrich-Heine University
2003 PhD in Life Sciences (Dr. rer. nat.)
2001 – 2003 Research Associate, Leibniz-Institute of Marine Sciences (IfM-Geomar)
2000 – 2002 Young Research Group Leader “Marine Pathology”
2000 Diploma in Biology (Dipl. Biol.)
1999 Research Associate, Federal Research Centre for Fisheries
1995 – 2000 Studies of Biology at the University of Kiel (field of studies: parasitology, zoology, marine and fishery biology, oceanography, biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology)

Editorial Experience
2008 – dato Editor in Chief – Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
2008 – dato Subject Editor  – Parasitology Research
2009 – dato Wissenschaftlicher Beirat – Bulletin of Fish Biology


Dr. Sarah Cunze
Goethe University
Dr. Lisa Koch
Goethe University
Dr. Judith Kochmann
PostDoc, Member of Research Group 'Medical Biodiversity and Parasitology'
Senckenberg Society for Nature Research

Research Interest

My main research interest lies in aquatic ecology, with a focus on marine coastal ecosystems and non-indigenous species. More specifically, I am interested in the patterns and processes of biological invasions, including changes in biotic interactions, population structure and genetic diversity of invasive and native species.
I obtained my PhD in Environmental Biology from University College Dublin where I worked in the field of sustainable aquaculture, more specifically on the spread of the Pacific oyster (Magallana gigas). The research included various methods (large-scale surveying, field experiments and molecular work) and resulted in various collaborative projects.
At Senckenberg BiK-F, I still enjoy and value the use of different approaches to study various aspects of native and alien species in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Thus, I was previously involved in studies on the invasive round goby Neogobius melanostomus and the invasive amphipod Dikerogammarus villosus in freshwater ecosystems, taking into account their impacts on host-parasite dynamics. I am currently working on distributions of invasive mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus, Ae. aegypti) using ecological niche modelling. Over the last four years I also took on tasks in project management, such as coordinating the International Graduate School IMPact-Vector funded by the Leibniz-Association.

Judith Kochmann at ResearchGate

Dr. Antje Steinbrink
Goethe University
Katharina Alt
PhD student - Senckenberg Society for Nature Research
Dorian Dörge
PhD student - Goethe University
Fanny Eberhard
PhD student - Goethe University
Chinhda Xoumpholphakdy
PhD student - Goethe University