Urs C. Schmidt-Ott, PhD

The Schmidt-Ott lab uses experimental and genomic approaches to study the evolution of embryogenesis in flies, including midges and mosquitoes (Diptera).



We seek to understand how and why, in embryos, morphogenesis, pattern formation, axis specification, gene regulation, and gene function change over time. For example, we discovered that the embryos of different fly species use structurally unrelated genes to establish embryo polarity and seek to understand why these essential developmental genes are frequently replaced in evolution and how they acquire this function. In another project, we discovered that the dynamics of a morphogen gradient required for tissue differentiation differs between species. We seek to understand how morphgogen gradient dynamics evolve and alter embryogenesis, including tissue specification and morphogenesis.



In general, we welcome students and scholars who are interested in understanding how plasticity and robustness of embryogenesis shape the genetic basis of embryos over time.

Max-Planck-Institute f. Biophys. Chemistry
Göttingen (Germany)
Postdoc - Molecular Developmental Biology
1997

University of Mainz
Mainz (Germany)
PhD - Genetics
1994

University of Freiburg
Freiburg i. Br. (Germany)
Diplom - Biology
1990

Evolution and loss of ß-catenin and TCF-dependent axis specification in insects.
Schmidt-Ott U, Yoon Y. Evolution and loss of ß-catenin and TCF-dependent axis specification in insects. Curr Opin Insect Sci. 2022 Jan 31; 50:100877.
PMID: 35104659

Predictors of pressure injury development in critically ill adults: A retrospective cohort study.
Sala JJ, Mayampurath A, Solmos S, Vonderheid SC, Banas M, D'Souza A, LaFond C. Predictors of pressure injury development in critically ill adults: A retrospective cohort study. Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2021 Feb; 62:102924.
PMID: 18214532

Embryo polarity in moth flies and mosquitoes relies on distinct old genes with localized transcript isoforms.
Yoon Y, Klomp J, Martin-Martin I, Criscione F, Calvo E, Ribeiro J, Schmidt-Ott U. Embryo polarity in moth flies and mosquitoes relies on distinct old genes with localized transcript isoforms. Elife. 2019 10 08; 8.
PMID: 31591963

Ancient mechanisms for the evolution of the bicoid homeodomain's function in fly development.
Liu Q, Onal P, Datta RR, Rogers JM, Schmidt-Ott U, Bulyk ML, Small S, Thornton JW. Ancient mechanisms for the evolution of the bicoid homeodomain's function in fly development. Elife. 2018 10 09; 7.
PMID: 30298815

Thromboprophylaxis in Spinal Surgery.
Mosenthal WP, Landy DC, Boyajian HH, Idowu OA, Shi LL, Ramos E, Lee MJ. Thromboprophylaxis in Spinal Surgery. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2018 04 15; 43(8):E474-E481.
PMID: 14760654

Chironomus riparius (Diptera) genome sequencing reveals the impact of minisatellite transposable elements on population divergence.
Oppold AM, Schmidt H, Rose M, Hellmann SL, Dolze F, Ripp F, Weich B, Schmidt-Ott U, Schmidt E, Kofler R, Hankeln T, Pfenninger M. Chironomus riparius (Diptera) genome sequencing reveals the impact of minisatellite transposable elements on population divergence. Mol Ecol. 2017 Jun; 26(12):3256-3275.
PMID: 28316106

Functional evolution of a morphogenetic gradient.
Kwan CW, Gavin-Smyth J, Ferguson EL, Schmidt-Ott U. Functional evolution of a morphogenetic gradient. Elife. 2016 12 22; 5.
PMID: 28005004

Emerging developmental genetic model systems in holometabolous insects.
Schmidt-Ott U, Lynch JA. Emerging developmental genetic model systems in holometabolous insects. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2016 08; 39:116-128.
PMID: 27399647

Morphogenetic functions of extraembryonic membranes in insects.
Schmidt-Ott U, Kwan CW. Morphogenetic functions of extraembryonic membranes in insects. Curr Opin Insect Sci. 2016 02; 13:86-92.
PMID: 27436557

Embryo development. A cysteine-clamp gene drives embryo polarity in the midge Chironomus.
Klomp J, Athy D, Kwan CW, Bloch NI, Sandmann T, Lemke S, Schmidt-Ott U. Embryo development. A cysteine-clamp gene drives embryo polarity in the midge Chironomus. Science. 2015 May 29; 348(6238):1040-2.
PMID: 25953821

View All Publications

Habilitation
Technical University of Braunschweig (Germany)
2001

Dissertation Research Award
Association of Friends of the University of Mainz
1995

Postdoctoral Fellowship
German Research Foundation (DFG)
1995 - 1997

PhD summa cum laude
University of Mainz
1994

Fellow
Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes
1989