Insect olfaction

External chemical signals guide the behaviour of organisms from bacteria to humans. We have chosen insects as model animals to investigate the sense of olfaction at various levels of organization; these include the fine structure and development of the olfactory organs, the molecular events involved in stimulus transduction, the receptor cell function, and the chemically controlled behaviour of insects.
We employ a great variety of methods including electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, biochemistry, electrophysiology, mathematical modeling of electrical and chemical networks, and behavioural observations. Among the species of interest are agricultural pest insects and carriers of diseases (malaria), as well as fruit flies (Drosophila) for genetic analyses.
The group was part of the MPI für Verhaltensphysiologie (until 2003) and stood in the tradition of the founder of physiology of insect olfaction, Dietrich Schneider (30.7.1919 - 10.6.2008), former director and emeritus at our institute.

Dr. rer. nat., apl. Prof. Karl-Ernst Kaissling

Studied Zoology, Biochemistry and Physics at the Universities of Tübingen, Vienna and Munich, PhD in 1962, since 1972 Scientific member of the Max-Planck-Society and leader of a research group, since 1978 apl. Prof. at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, since 2003 Emeritus.

Members of the former research group

Dr. rer. nat. Elke Hartlieb

Dr. rer. nat., Priv. Doz. Thomas A. Keil (

Dr. rer. nat. Rosario Maida (

Dr. rer. nat. Corina Oldenburg (

Dr. rer. nat. Blanka Pophof (

Dr. rer. nat., apl. Prof. Rudolf Alexander Steinbrecht (

Dr. rer. nat. Gunde Ziegelberger (

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