Melanie Wickert


Melanie Wickert headshot
I am a biologist with a background in immunology, molecular toxicology and behaviour. Originally from the Black Forest region of Southwestern Germany, I began my studies at the University of Freiburg under Prof. Dr. Klaus Warnatz at the Centrum für Chronische Immundefizienz (CCI), conducted my Erasmus at the University of Uppsala, and recently completed my Masters of Biological Sciences at the University of Konstanz, in the Department of Collective Behaviour at the Max-Planck-Institute for Animal Behaviour under Prof. Dr. Iain Couzin.


My first experience in research, working in a molecular immunology lab isolating B cells and evaluating their cytokine expression, fostered in me a deep interest in molecular biology. During my Erasmus I became interested in the ecological aspect of biology and took courses in limnology and marine biology. Not neglecting the molecular opportunities there, I also attended courses in human physiology and evolutionary genetics.

During my Master’s studies, I became interested in linking the broader ecological and behavioural impacts to underlying molecular mechanisms. For instance, it has always fascinated me how a substance that acts on a molecular level can result in large scale ecological consequences. This led me to participate in a broad range of research projects, investigating: B cell cytokine expression, reaction of kidney cells to drug compounds and their expression of functional cation transporters, surface currents in the lower Lake Constance, effects of restraining and grooming on associative learning and olfactory perception in Apis mellifera, marine biotoxins with a focus on distribution, detection and mechanism of action, and the underlying mechanisms governing behavioural interactions within communities of African cichlids. These experiences have fostered a great appreciation for the many scales of biological relevance and how our understanding of a system is dependent on the scale at which we investigate it. 

Be it as a specialised researcher on a larger team, or in a startup where one must wear many hats, I hope to further develop the skills necessary for more applied areas of research—in particular, in the realms of research organisation and team management—so that I may best bring my own unique perspective and knowledge of ecological, behavioural and evolutionary relevance to any project.


  • Cell culture, microscopy, immunostaining, FACS, B cell isolation, cell viability assays, PCR/qPCR, ELISA, SDS Page, Western Blot, Primer design, DNA/RNA isolation and microsatellite analysis, genetic and behavioural data collection in the field

  • Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop; Basics in GraphPad Prism, Matlab, Processing, Python, OpenCV, Java, and R

  • Project planning and management, data collection, experimental design