Prof. Dr.

Justyna Wolinska

+49(30) 64 181 686
+49(30) 64 181 682

Müggelseedamm 301, 12587 Berlin

Evolutionsökologie von Krankheiten

I am an evolutionary ecologist who studies rapid evolutionary changes in natural populations and communities, as a response to environmental challenges. Parasites are ubiquitous and impose strong selection on their hosts to evolve resistance. Parasites are likewise under strong selection to undermine host defenses. Host-parasite interactions therefore provide the perfect empirical framework within which to study rapid evolution.

See our group webpage.


Scientific education

  • 2012: Habilitation (Evolutionary Ecology), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), Germany
  • 2006: PhD (Evolutionary Ecology), Eawag/ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2001: MSc (Environmental Protection), Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
  • 1999: BSc (Environmental Protection), Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland

Professional experience

  • Since 2015: Professor for Aquatic Evolutionary Ecology, Freie Universität Berlin (FU), Germany
  • Since 2014: Research Group Leader, IGB Berlin, Germany
  • 2008-2014: Assistant Professor, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), Germany
  • 2006-2008: Postdoc Research Fellow, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

Full publication list







    Grants, Academic Service, Teaching


    Scientific grants (as PI)

    • expected project start date: July 2017 (3 years): DFG (German-Israeli collaboration): “The evolution of virulence under conditions of frequent multiple infections”.
    • 2017-2020 (3 years): DFG & SNF (German-Swiss collaboration): “Host-parasite interactions in hybridizing Daphnia, from correlations to experiments”.
    • 2013-2016 (3 years): DFG (proposal integrated within a Priority Program: Host-parasite coevolution; rapid reciprocal adaptation and its genetic basis): “Red Queen dynamics in Daphnia; revealing evolutionary change in a parasite population”.
    • 2012-2015 (3 years): DFG & SNF (German-Swiss collaboration): “Host-parasites interactions in Daphnia: the role of variable environments”.
    • 2012-2015 (3 years): DFG (proposal integrated within a Research Unit: Natural selection in structured populations): “The role of hybridization in the colonization of newly opened habitats”.
    • 2010-2013 (3 years): DFG “Facing multiple enemies: trade-offs between adaptive responses to predators and parasites in the context of inducible defences”.
    • 2010-2013 (3 years): DFG (proposal integrated within a Priority Program: Host-parasite coevolution; rapid reciprocal adaptation and its genetic basis): “Red Queen dynamics in Daphnia: the role of variable environments. Part 2”.
    • 2009-2010 (1 year): DFG “Red Queen dynamics in Daphnia: the role of variable environments. Part 1”.

    Scientific grants (as Host)

    Other grants

    (I helped to write and / or defend these proposals in front of the funding committee)

    Academic Service

    • Editorial Board: Journal of Evolutionary Biology (2010-2013 and 2015-present); BMC Evolutionary Biology (2015-present)
    • Reviewer for Scientific Journals: Evolution, Ecology, Am Nat, Proc R Soc B, Mol Ecol, Funct Ecol, Biol Lett, BMC Biology, Mol Biol Evol, Int J Parasitol, J Anim Ecol, Oecologia, Oikos, Biol Invasions, FEMS Microbiol Ecol, Freshw Biol, PLoS ONE, Evol Ecol, Ecol Res, Parasitology, Dis Aquat Org, J Eukaryot Microbiol, Aquat Biol, Aquat Ecol, Aquat Sci, Hydrobiologia, Zoology, Acta Zool Acad Sci Hung, Sensors, Trop Biomed
    • Reviewer for Funding Agencies: National Science Foundations (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Poland and USA), Humboldt Foundation (Germany), National Geographic Society (USA), Graduate Women in Science (USA)

    Teaching at IGB

    Experimental and Theoretical Evolutionary Ecology (MSc level) – lecture, seminar and practical classes

    Biotic Interactions in a Changing World (MSc level) – lecture and seminar


    03-08.09.17 - Melanie and Ramsy attend SAME15 (15th Symposium on Aquatic Microbial Ecology) in Zagreb, Croatia. Ramsy talks about "Chytrid parasitism facilitates trophic transfer between bloom-forming cyanobacteria and zooplankton". Melanie presents a poster: "Chytrids as transfer agents of matter and energy in aquatic food webs: Do they always constitute good food quality for zooplankton?".

    20-25.08.17 - Justyna attends ESEB Congress in Groningen, the Netherlands. She is co-organizing a symposium on Evolutionary Implications of Hybridization.

    31.07.17 - Melanie is going back to France, after having stayed one year with us (IGB Fellowship Programme); Melanie, you will be missed!

    11.07.17 - the job ad is posted online; PhD position in a collaborative project with Frida Ben-Ami from Tel Aviv University: "The evolution of virulence under conditions of frequent multiple infections", funded by the DFG. More information about the project and the link to the online application can be found here. Application deadline: 22nd August, 2017.

    16.06.17 - paper of Ramsy et al. is out! Congratulations!! "Integrating chytrid fungal parasites into plankton ecology. Research gaps and needs". This opinion paper provides a perspective view on possible directions of future research about chytrids parasitizing phytoplankton. Available here.

    01-02.06.17 - Prof. Adam Petrusek (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic) is visiting our lab. Justyna is collaborationg with him (as well as with Justyna's former PhD student, Mingbo Yin) on the following project: “Genetic diversity and phylogeography of the Asian Daphnia”.

    15-16.05.17 - Yameng and Justyna attend 'Introduction to evolutionary biology for infection biologists' workshop (organized by IZW). Justyna teaches about host-parasites coevolution and evolution of virulence.

    12-14.05.17 - Justyna attends "I scientist" conference in Berlin (on gender, career paths and networking). The conference's mission is to to increase visibility of female role models and  raise awareness of unconscious biases. During the Networking Breakfast, she serves as an expert on how to combine science and family.

    12.05.17 - last working day of Tanya (Tatiana Semanova); she is leaving for the US (postdoc position at the University of Kansas). We all wish you good luck!

    16-18.03.17 - Manja, Ramsy and Justyna attend PhD student meeting on: "Conflict and cooperation – bridging evolution, ecology and immunology" in Bautzen, Germany. Manja gives a presentation about "Daphnia in the dark - simulating input of humic dissolved organic carbon", whereas Ramsy talks about: "Ecological implications fungal parasitism on phytoplankton".

    07-11.02.17 - Manja attends "Young Natural History Scientists' Meeting" in France, Paris. Title of Manja's presentation: "Parasitic fungus closes gap between two trophic levels".

    02.02.17 - fantastic news: our grant proposal ("The evolution of virulence under conditions of frequent multiple infections", submitted together with Frida Ben-Ami from Tel Aviv University) got funded by the DFG. We will soon advertise two PhD positions: in Berlin and in Tel Aviv.

    30-31.01.17 - kick-off meeting for "Host-parasite interactions in hybridizing Daphnia" project. Place: eawag, Dübendorf, Switzerland. Lab-Attendees: Yameng, Anurag and Justyna.

    17-18.01.17 - kick-off meeting for "DNA-metabarcoding of plankton communities" project. Place: Villa Ehrlich, Berlin. Lab-Attendees: Tatiana, Uschi, Elisabeth and Justyna.

    12.01.17 – Dr. Dominik Martin-Creuzburg (University of Konstanz, Germany) is visiting our lab. We are collaborating with him on the following project: “Chytrid: an overlooked transfer agent of matter and energy in aquatic food webs”.

    10.01.17 - welcoming a new lab member: Tatiana Semanova (postdoc); the launch of a new project: "DNA-metabarcoding of plankton communities".

    02.01.17 – welcoming two new lab members: Yaming Lu (postdoc) and Anurag Mishra (PhD student); the launch of a new project: "Host-parasite interactions in hybridizing Daphnia - from correlations to experiments".

    08-12.12.16 – Dr. Bruno B. Castro (University of Minho, Portugal) and Ana Cuco (Bruno’s PhD student) are visiting our lab. We are collaborating with them on the following project: “Interaction between fungi-mediated processes and pollution”.

    14.11.16 - paper of Manja et al. is out! Congratulations!! This was the very first Daphnia experiment conducted in our new lab (i.e. after our group had moved here from LMU Munich). Available here.

    27.10.16 – Alina Gross gave a final talk on her MSc project entitled: “Measurement of parasite fitness under temperature variation and assessment of adaptation of the chytrid Rhizophydium megarrhizum”. Congratulations!

    21.10.16 – Jakub Rusek defended his PhD thesis: “Development of molecular tools to study Daphnia-parasite dynamics”. Congratulations! Jakub is now working in Brussels, for science policy.

    13.10.16 – paper of Ramsy and Manja is out; our first publication on cyanobacteria (host) – chytrid (parasite) system! Available here.

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