Sarah Rolfes, M.Sc.

PhD Student 

University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation 
ITZ, Ecology and Evolution 
Buenteweg 17d 
D-30559 Hannover 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: +49 511 9538485


“Nothing in Biology makes Sense except in the Light of Evolution.” Theodosius Dobzhansky (1973)

I am a molecular biologist with particular interest in evolutionary and developmental biology and I have been working at the ITZ, Ecology and Evolution (TiHo Hannover) as a PhD student since 2013. In my research, I seek to understand the evolution, function and regulation of p53 and the Myc/Max transcription factor network in placozoans.

Cell cycle regulation and the control of programmed cell death (apoptosis) are crucial for every living organism, as dysregulation often leads to malignancies and cancer and it is of prime importance to understand the function of major regulatory genes such as p53, myc and max. However, traditional model organisms (e.g. mouse, zebrafish) are too complex and research on simpler organisms is needed. As the genome of the simplest animal, Trichoplax adhaerens, codes for all three genes as well as for the important negative regulator of p53, mdm2, the use of this fascinating marine invertebrate as a model organism for applied research is most promising.

To tackle this topic I use genetic and molecular techniques such as in situ hybridization and gene knock downs as well as protein biochemical approaches and bioinformatics.


V.d.Chevallerie, K., Rolfes, S., Schierwater, B. (2014). Inhibitors of the p53-Mdm2 interaction increase programmed cell death and produce abnormal phenotypes in the placozoon Trichoplax adhaerens (F.E. Schulze). Dev Genes Evol 224:79-85

Storbeck, S., Rolfes, S., Raux-Derry, E., Warren, M.J., Jahn, D., Layer, G. (2010). A novel pathway for the biosynthesis of heme in Archaea: genome-based bioinformatic predictions and experimental evidence, Archaea. 2010:175050



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