Dr. Anne-Kathrin Classen


I obtained my BSc in Cell Biology from the University of Manchester and my MSc in Biomolecular Sciences from the University of Amsterdam. I studied how cellular packing geometry is controlled by the planar cell poarity pathway during my PhD work at the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology an Genetics in Dresden. During my postdoc at UC Berkeley I investigated epigenetic regulation of tissue growth by Polycomb proteins. In 2011 I started my Emmy Noether research group at the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich. In 2016 we moved to the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg.

PhD students

Ramya Balaji


I obtained my BS-MS integrated degree in Science from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, India.  I fell in love with genetics and developmental biology during my coursework in India and started working with Drosophila embryos to study the origins of cell compartmentalization and polarity in the lab of Richa Rikhy. In 2012, I did a summer internship in Andreas Wodarz’s lab in University of Göttingen, performing a genetic screen to study neuroblast polarity. My interest in polarity and mechanics of cells developed and I wanted to work further in this field.  I joined Anne’s lab in August 2013 and am currently investigating mechanisms that drive epithelial cell shape transitions in Drosophila egg chambers.  During this time, I also worked on Calcium oscillations in wing imaginal discs of Drosophila. In my free time, I like to experiment with cooking and dancing Flamenco.

Andrea Cosolo


I received my B.S. in Biotechnology in 2010 and M.S. in Medical Biotechnology in 2012 from the University of Udine (Italy), and completed my Master’s thesis at the University of Liege (Belgium). During this period I also did an internship at the University of Umea (Sweden). In 2013 I joined the Classen lab as a Ph.D. candidate in the International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Life Sciences. My doctoral work focuses on studying the cellular mechanisms driving patterning of proliferative responses under tissue stress conditions.

Vanessa Weichselberger


I received my B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Salzburg, Austria, which included an exchange semester at Cardiff University, Great Britain. After my Bachelor studies I had the chance to work as an intern at a research department of Novartis in Zurich, Switzerland, before starting my Master´s studies at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. During my time at the LMU I joined Anne’s lab and was not able to leave again. So, I stayed and am now a PhD student working on the mechanics of epithelial cell shape changes and the ability of cells to form boundaries in developing tissues.

Janhvi Jaiswal


I graduated with a B.E. degree in Biotechnology from BMS College of Engineering (India) in 2012, followed by an M.Sc. degree in Genetics of Human Disease from University College London (U.K.) in 2013. I worked as a Research Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (India) from 2014-2016. In September 2016, I joined Anne’s lab as a PhD student. I am keenly interested in studying stress responses within the epithelial sheets in tissue damage as well as cancer.

Carlo Crucianelli


I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from the University of Camerino, Unicam (Italy) in 2014 and a MSc degree in Biotechnology from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) in 2016. During my studies I gained experience in the field of oncology and neurobiology. I joined Anne’s lab in 2018 to work on the regulation of compensatory proliferation during tissue regeneration.  

Abhayadev PV


I received my BS-MS degree in Biology from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Thiruvananthapuram in 2017. During my studies, I became interested in developmental genetics and started to work on Arabidopsis to elucidate the mechanisms of de novo shoot regeneration. I was intrigued by the role of cell mechanics and polarity in tissue organisation and wanted to continue working in the field. In 2018, I joined Anne’s lab to investigating the role of cell affinity in epithelial cell extrusion.


Deepti Prasad

Deepti Prasad

I graduated with B.Sc. in Biotechnology in 2011 and M.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Human Genetics in 2013 from the School of Life Sciences, Manipal University, India, and completed my master thesis at the National Institute of Immunology, India. From 2014-2017, I was a part of the Cancer Research Program at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (India) with a fellowship from the University Grants Commission, Government of India. I moved to Germany as a PhD fellow of the Spemann Graduate School for Biology and Medicine in 2017, and joined the Classen group for my PhD. My doctoral study focuses on the elucidation of the mechanisms regulating cell extrusion from the epithelial layer


Isabelle Grass


Former lab members

Dr. Christina Bielmeier

christina graduation

Dr. Marco La Fortezza


Dr. Addie Kolybaba



and the many great Bachelor and Master students that have worked with us over the years…