The Städele laboratory is interested in the sensory and molecular neurobiology of host-seeking and host-preference in ticks. Tick populations are rising globally and have doubled over the last 14 years. While ticks aren’t yet as deadly as mosquitos, they transmit a greater diversity of infectious agents than any other group of blood-feeding arthropods like Borreliosis (Lyme disease), tick-borne encephalitis (FSME), and Anaplasmosis. Male and female ticks need at least one blood meal in each of their three developmental stages to reproduce.

Despite their importance as disease vectors, we currently have no good understanding of what makes a tick tick. Consequently, we also have no good way to control rising tick populations. One possible control strategy is interfering with the tick’s ability to locate hosts. However, tick neurobiology has been strongly neglected. The sensory and neuronal abilities of ticks remain mysterious. We aim to overcome this limitation and employ tools and assays to better understand ticks‘ sensory neurobiology.

Research Interests
How do ticks find hosts, e.g., what does host-seeking in ticks look like?
What sensory (host-emitted) cues do ticks use to find hosts?
What sensory organs do they possess, and how are these sensory organs equipped to detect
environmental cues?
What does the nervous system of ticks look like?
How are sensory signals integrated and processed in the tick brain?

Group Members
We are currently seeking interested and motivated young scientists (undergraduate and graduate students) to join our team. For inquiries and questions, don’t hesitate to get in contact with Carola Städele.

Tel. +49-551-39 65 925