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Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies

Evolutionary and Ecological Genomics

Evolutionary and Ecological Genomics

We address evolutionary and ecological questions in integrated biological sciences by exploiting novel genomics tools and machine learning. Our interests include robustness of polyploid species, language evolution, evolution of mating systems, and gene expression and image analysis in naturally fluctuating conditions termed in natura. We develop new bioinformatic tools (e.g. HomeoRoq for polyploid RNA-seq), machine learning tools (e.g. PlantServation) to analyze large quantitative data obtained under both laboratory and in natura, and databases (e.g., GeLaTo, GEnes and LAnguages TOgether). Our study species include Arabidopsis relatives as model species, wheat as a crop plant, tropical trees as environmentally relevant species, and human beings. We welcome new members with new ideas and species.

Head of group: Prof. Dr. Kentaro K. Shimizu

Recent projects

  • Environmental robustness of polyploid species
  • Genomic studies of polyploid Arabidopsis and wheat species
  • Evolution of selfing and self-compatibility
  • Ecological genomics of tropical species
  • NCCR Evolving language

Recent news

  • 01 September 2023. Lab excursion.
  • 22 November 2022. Genes and Languages
    UZH News: English German
  • 03 August 2022. Global Spread of Powdery Mildew through Migration and Trade
    UZH News: English German
  • 01 November 2021. Former Post-doctoral fellow Hiroyuki Kakui received "The Presentation award of the 140th meeting of the Japanese Society of Breeding" at the 140th meeting of the Japanese Society of Breeding.
  • 25 November 2020. Wheat Diversity Due to Cross-Hybridization with Wild Grasses
    UZH News: English German
  • 06 October 2020. Evolution in Action: New Plant Species at Urnerboden
    UZH News: English German
  • 8 June 2020. Newly Identified Gene Reduces Pollen Number of Plants
    UZH News: English German
  • 03 September 2019. NHK World - Japan Science View, visiting TV crew (JPG, 384 KB) visit with Prof. Dr. Kentaro Shimizu
  • NHK World - Japan Science View, visiting TV crew (JPG, 384 KB) visit with Prof. Dr. Kentaro Shimizu
  • 11 October 2018. Lab excursion to Lugano in the beautiful canton of Ticino.
  • 05 September 2017. Genome sequencing of an underutilized finger millet
    UZH News: English German

  • 04 May 2017. Lab excursion to the National Museum Zurich and the Botanical Garden.
  • 17 March 2017. Suzuki Award for Dr. Eri Yamasaki.
  • February & July 2016. Lab excursion to Heuberge, GR and Brissago, TI.
  • 10 December 2015. Prof. Dr. Kentaro Shimizu was selected for NISTEP Award (PDF in Japanese) (Award for nice step researchers) from the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.
  • 20 November 2015. Science Channel by Japan Science and Technology Agency “Mystery of evolution studied by whole genome analysis” by Prof. Dr. Kentaro Shimizu, Dr. Reiko Akiyama, Dr. Masaomi Hatakeyama, 2015 (Caption in English, spoken in Japanese).
  • 09-17 March 2015. (seven chapters). National Geographic Web reported "Series Visiting laboratories: Prof. Kentaro Shimizu, Evolutionary and Ecological Genomics, University of Zurich" (in Japanese reported by Hiroto Kawabata)
  • 08 January 2015. Sophisticated system prevents self-fertilization in petunias (English), Ausgeklügeltes System verhindert bei Petunie die Selbstbefruchtung (German). Dr. Timothy Paape, Prof. Kentaro K. Shimizu
  • 03 April 2014. Prof. Kentaro Shimizu became a Faculty of 1000 member in Developmental Biology.
  • 20 January 2014. Prof. Kentaro Shimizu at the kick-off ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) and the Faculty of Science.
  • 08 September 2013. The cover picture of a Molecular Ecology issue and a Perspective Article
    featured a paper by a PhD student Masaki Kobayashi studying synchronous flowering in tropical forest using next-generation sequencing.
  • 22 May 2013. Our genomic research on a tropical tree was highlighted in News Release of the University of Zurich.
    Drought makes Borneo's trees flower at the same time (English), Trockenheit bringt Borneos Bäume gleichzeitig zum Blühen (German)
  • 20 March 2012. A PhD student Masaki Kobayashi received "The Most Outstanding Poster Award of the Royal Society of London" at the Joint meeting of the 59th Annual Meeting of Ecological Society of Japan and the 5th EAFES international congress East Asian Federation of Ecological Societies.
  • 31 March 2011. Prof. Dr. Kentaro Shimizu was awarded one of the eleven Young Investigator Awards 2011 of Human Frontier Science Program as the main PI.
  • 07 July 2010. With Dr. Takashi Tsuchimatsu, for the first time a member from a Swiss University was awarded the Walter M. Fitch Award of the Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution
  • 07 June 2010. Our research on plant memory in changing and fluctuating climates was highlighted in an UZH news release
  • 18 April 2010. Our Nature paper on self-fertilization in response to climate change was highlighted in an UZH news release.


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