Centre for Organismal Studies

COS Symposium 2024 — Life in Context


July 22-23, 2024


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.


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.