COS Heidelberg

We are devastated by the deadly shooting in one of our lecture halls and deeply mourn the victim. Our thoughts are with her and her family and with the many people who have been directly or indirectly affected by this terrible act. The injured and participants of the lecture, our friends and colleagues in INF360, some of whom directly witnessed the crime, and the students of the cohort from whose midst both victims and the shooter come.

We will not simply move on to business as usual, but will give space to our grief, our fear, and our disbelief. However, it is also clear that we actively oppose any form of violence and that we will not restrict our freedom and openness that is so important for our community.

COS has proven to be a strong community and together we will overcome this attack and rebuild our sheltered environment.

    4 Organisms


    Founded in 2010, the Centre for Organismal Studies (COS) Heidelberg aims to study organismal biology across the boundaries of biological levels of organization. Research and teaching at the COS are dedicated to the biology of organisms from molecular basics to cell biology, developmental biology and physiology to evolution and biodiversity, as well as systems biology and biotechnology in plant and animal systems.

    Ulrike Engel: Fluoreszenzmikroskopie


    Research at COS is devoted to the molecular and cellular mechanisms of organismal function in animals and plants. Central questions include: How do molecular signaling pathways interact to give rise to specific cell types? How do cell division and migration patterns influence organ shape, size, and function? How do environmental stimuli such as temperature or nutrient supply control the development and physiology of organisms? How have these mechanisms evolved and changed over the course of evolution?
    Research groups of COS are working on these topics using state-of-the-art technologies with numerous partner groups of the Heidelberg Life Sciences.



    Teaching at COS follows our major lines of research in molecular organismal biology. We offer a broad range of undergraduate and graduate courses in the Bachelor of Biological Sciences program, covering topics in cell and developmental biology, physiology, neurobiology, biodiversity, and evolution. In the master's program in Molecular Biosciences, COS faculty contribute to the majors in Molecular and Applied Plant Sciences, Developmental and Stem cell Biology, Neuroscience, and Systems Biology.

    Newest publications

    Walden, N.; German, D.A.; Wolf, E.M.; Kiefer, M.; Rigault, P.; Huang, X.-C.; Kiefer, C.; Schmickl, R.; Franzke, A.; Neuffer, B.; Mummenhoff, K.; Koch, M.A. 2020 Nested whole-genome duplications coincide with diversification and high morphological disparity in Brassicaceae Nat Commun 11 1 3795 doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-17605-7