Supervising Activities

University of Zurich (2000- ongoing)

Updated 10 January 2018

Research assistants​

Post-doctoral students​

  • Spyros Theodoridis [ Google Scholar, Research Gate]: Evolutionary processes underpinning genomic, ecological and spatial patterns in response to climate change (Greek; now postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of David Nogués-Bravo in the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Ben Warren​ [Website; Google Scholar]: (i) Modelling phylogenetic patterns of extinction risk in island systems and (ii) using NGS techniques to understand the role of ecology and gene flow in speciation in island plants (Limonium radiation in Macaronesia) (British; now Curator of Birds at the Museum of Natural History in Paris, France)
  • Florian Boucher [Google Sites; Google Scholar]: Origin and diversification of alpine floras (French; now postdoctoral researcher at the Biological Interactions Lab of the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa)
  • Michael D Nowak [WebsiteGoogle Scholar]: Draft genome of Primula veris (US citizen; then postdoctoral researcher in the SciLifeLab at Stockholm University, Sweden, researcher at the Natural History Museum of the University of Oslo, Norway; now Assistant Professor at Charles Prague University, Czech Republic)
  • Aurélie Désamoré [Website; Research Gate]: Diversification of Limonium in Corsica (Belgian; then postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Zoology of the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Sweden; now research engineer/lab manager for the Slotte lab in the Department of Ecology, Environment, and Plant Sciences at Stockholm University, Sweden)
  • Ares Jiménez [Research Gate]: Origin and evolution of island endemics in the Canarian archipelago (Limonium, Plumbaginaceae) (Spanish)
  • Marilena Meloni [Research Gate]: Genetic diversity in oceanic and continental island endemics (Ruta, Rutaceae) (Italian; funded by an SNF Marie-Heim Voegtlin fellowship) (Italian)
  • Alexander Schmidt-Lebuhn [Website; Google Scholar; Research Gate]: Phylogeny and phylogeography of Primula sect. Primula (German; now herbarium curator at CSIRO, Canberra, Australia)
  • Hassan Mansour [Google Scholar; Research Gate]: Population genetics of the Sinai Primrose (Primula boveana) (Egyptian; now lecturer at the Suez Canal University, Egypt)
  • Guilhem Mansion [Google Scholar; Research Gate]: Biogeography and evolution of Mediterranean endemics (French; then scientific curator at the Botanical Garden and Museum of the Free University of Berlin)
  • Andre O Simões [Google Scholar]: Phylogenetic studies in Apocynaceae; with M. Endress (Brazilian; now professor at the University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil)
  • Peter Szövényi [Website]: Genetic diversity of Saxifraga florulenta, a rare endemic of the Maritime Alps (Hungarian; now Oberassistant at the Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany of the University of Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Alex Kocyan [Website; Research Gate]: Phylogenetics of Orchidaceae (Swiss; then research assistant at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, ETH Zurich)
  • Austin R Mast [Website; Google Scholar]: Phylogenetics of Primula (US citizen; now professor at Florida State University)
  • Jürg Schönenberger [Website; Google Scholar]: Phylogenetics of Penaeaceae (Swiss; now professor at the University of Wien, Austria)

PhD students​

  • Giacomo Potente: PhD student funded by the PlantHUB project of the EU-ITN program; with P. Szövenyi as co-supervisor (Italian; current)
  • Diop Sedyna: Topic: Sex chromosome evolution in Marchantiah; PhD student funded by the PlantHUB project of the EU-ITN program; with P. Szövenyi as supervisor (Senegalese; current)
  • Konstantina Koutroumpa [Website]: Topic: Evolution and diversification of Limonium​ (Plumbaginaceae); with emphasis on the Eastern Mediterranean (Greek; current)
  • Erica Barroso de Morais [Website, Google Scholar]: ​Topic: Diversification of Thunbergioideae (Acanthaceaea); with J. Schönenberger and A. Antonelli (Brazilian; current)
  • Lirui Zhang [Research Gate]: Topic: Population genetics of Primula halleri; student from Lanzhou University with scholarship from the China Scholarship Council (Chinese)
  • Guangpeng Ren [Research Gate]: Topic: Phylogenetics, population genetics, and ecological niche modeling in Chinese Primula; student from Lanzhou University with scholarship from the China Scholarship Council; with N. Salamin (University of Lausanne, Switzerland) as supervisor (Chinese)
  • Ben Haller [Website, Google Scholar, Research Gate]: Topic: Modeling speciation in heterostylous species (September 2010-May 2011); with A. Hendry (McGill University, Canada) as supervisor (US citizen; then research programmer/analyst at Cornell University, USA)
  • Spyros Theodoridis [Website, Google Scholar, Research Gate]: Ph.D. Thesis title: Effects of the quaternary climatic shifts on distribution, ecological and genetic diversity in alpine/arctic Primroses, Primulaceae: integrative evidence from ecological biogeography, phylogeography and landscape genomics; with Dr. Christoph Randin (University of Basel, Switzerland) as co-supervisor (Greek; then postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, University of Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Theofania-Sotiria Patsiou [Website, Google Scholar, Research Gate]: Ph.D. Thesis title: The role of climatic islands in the sky in the persistence of plant species under past and future climate change; with Dr. Christoph Randin (University of Basel, Switzerland) as co-supervisor (Greek; then postdoctoral researcher at the University of Basel, Switzerland)
  • Maria Guerrina [Research Gate]: Ph.D. Thesis title: Biogeography and evolution of the Tertiary flora in the Maritime Alps; with G. Casazza as supervisor (Italian; then postdoctoral researcher at the University of Uppsala, Sweden)
  • Jurriaan M de Vos [Website, Scholar Google, Research Gate]: Ph.D. Thesis title: Flowers, sex, and diversity: Reproductive-ecological and macro-evolutionary aspects of floral variation in the Primrose family Primulaceae (Dutch; then postdoctoral researcher at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; now researcher and curator of the Herbaria Basel, Switzerland)
  • Sara Manafzadeh [Google Scholar, Research Gate]: Ph.D. Thesis title: A journey in the Orient: the Irano-Turanian floristic region from Boissier to the 21st century and from classical botany to evolutionary and ecological studies (Iranian; now researcher at the University of Vienna)
  • Deniz Ulukus [Google Scholar, Research Gate]: Ph.D. thesis title: Türkiye Haplophyllum A.Juss. ve Ruta L. Cinslerinin (Rutaceae) Taksonomik, Morfolojik, Anatomik ve Moleküler Revizyonu [Taxonomical, morphological, anatomical and molecular revision of Haplophyllum A. Juss. and Ruta L. in Turkey]; with O. Tugay as supervisor (Turk; now professor at Selcuk University, Konya, Turkey)
  • Angela Dettori [Google Scholar]: Ph.D. Thesis title: Conservation genetics of Corso-Sardinian endemics (Italian; from University of Cagliari, Italy)
  • Gabriele Salvo: Ph.D. Thesis title: The origin of plants endemic to the Mediterranean and Irano-Turanian floristic regions: case studies from the Citrus family (Rutaceae) (Italian, 2010; then post-doctoral scholarship from the Brazilian research council (FASPESP) to work on a project entitled: "Socio-economic impacts of climate change in Brazil: quantitative inputs for the design of public policies".
  • Alessia Guggisberg [Website, Google Scholar]: Ph.D. Thesis title: Polyploidy and evolution of breeding systems in an arctic-alpine species complex of Primula: an integrative phylogenetic and cytogenetic study. (Swiss; now Senior Assistant and Herbarium Curator of Phanerograms (Z+ZT), Institute of Integrative Biology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Anne C Gaskett [Webpage, Google Scholar]: Topic: Floral scent in Primula (from Macquarie University, Australia; now Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland, New Zealand)
  • Brigitte Marazzi [Google Scholar, Research Gate]: Ph.D. Thesis title: Molecular systematics and structure, development and evolution of floral asymmetry in the genus Senna (Leguminosae); with P. Endress as supervisor (Swiss, now research associate at the Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale, Lugano, Switzerland)
  • Andre Simões [Google Scholar]: Phylogenetics of Apocynaceae; with M. Endress (Brazilian; now professor at the University of São Paulo, Brazil)
  • Frank Rutschmann: Ph.D. Thesis title: The uses of molecular dating analyses in evolutionary studies, with examples from angiosperms. (Swiss; now Head of the Renewable Energy section​ of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy SFOE)

Master's students​

  • Oliver Subotic: Phylogenomics of Ruta in the Canary Islands (Swiss; now Ph.D student at the Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, University of Zurich)
  • Timo Dambach: Phenotypic and ecological comparisons of native and invasive populations of Limonium perezii from Tenerife and California (Swiss)
  • Bianca Saladin [Website, Google Scholar]: Diversify or specialize: Disturbances influence trait evolution in Pinus; with N. Zimmermann from WSL as supervisor (Swiss; then Ph.D. student at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Ladscape Research WSL and ETH Zurich, Switzerland)​
  • Ziming Zhong [Website]: From endangered island endemic to invasive species: a study of Limonium perezii from Tenerife to California​ (Chinese; now Ph.D. student in the Plant Pathology Group, Institute of Integrative Biology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Sam Isham: Stigma receptivity, pollen viability, and outcrossing potential in the herkogamous homostylous species Primula halleri with S. Kelso from Colorado College, USA as supervisor (US citizen; from Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, USA; now at Montana Department of Environmental Quality, USA)
  • Barbara Weigelt: Highly variable floral morphology and seed set in the Iberian and Canarian Limonium lobatum (Swiss)
  • Rita Ganz: Studies in Swiss Primroses: Reproductive isolation and patterns of introgression between Primula veris and Primula vulgaris (Swiss)
  • Andrea Reid: Phylogenetics and population genetics of Canarian endemics with Ch. Küffer from the ETH Zurich, Switzerland as supervisor (Canadian; from the ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Laura Granato: The role of polyploid evolution in flowering plants: a case study from the Alpine species Primula marginata; with G. Casazza​ from University of Genoa, Italy as supervisor (Italian, from the University of Genoa)
  • Karina Arroyo: Population genetics of Saxifraga florulenta, a rare endemic of the Maritime Alps (Costa Rican; now Research Technician at the University of Zurich hospital)
  • Stephanie Sanmartin: Phylogenetic relationships of diatom algae; with Hans-Ruedi Preisig as supervisor (Swiss; then Ph.D. student at the Technical University of Zurich-ETH)
  • Monica Quast: Effects of floral scent manipulation on the reproductive fitness of Primula elatior (Brazilian; student volunteer; then Ph.D. student at the University of Sao Paulo)
  • Janet L. Jorgensen: Implications of ITS sequences and RAPD markers for the taxonomy and biogeography of the Oxytropis campestris and O. arctica (Fabaceae) complexes in Alaska (then High School Biology and Physics teacher)
  • Stephanie Lieberherr: Phylogenetic relationships in Apocynaceae (French; University of Paris; with Mary Endress)

Other mentees​

Updated 2011

Undergraduate students interns:

  • Matthias Weinhart: Floral morphology of selected Primula species: evaluating the legacy of Alfred Ernst (1875-1968); (Austrian; November 2010-February 2011)
  • Brian Osterwalder: Screening of microsatellite primers in Primula halleri, P. elatior, P. veris and P. vulgaris (Swiss; 16 November – 24 December 2010)
  • Barbara Weigelt: Ovule number and Pollen / Ovule ratios in Primula Sect. Aleuritia (Swiss; 10 January- 4 February 2011).
  • Samuel T. Isham: Reproductive biology of Primula halleri (from Colorado College, USA: May-September 2009)

Visiting foreign students:

  • Sara Manafzadeh, University of Teheran, Iran: October 2007-December 2009

High School teachers:

  • Marietta Wilhelm: teacher training project, Spring-Fall 2009: “Unterrichtsreihe zum Thema: Phylogenie und Botanik”

High School students:

  • Catherine Leaver (from Salt Lake City, summer 2003; now BS student at Brown University, USA)
  • Paul Langraf (from Zurich, Fall 2002; then MS student at the Technical University of Zurich ETH)

Laboratory assistants:

  • Daniela Lang (2000-2002)
  • Sandro Wagen (2002-2004)
  • Daniel Heinzmann (2004-4/2007)
  • Barbara Keller (2007-current)


Group pictures

Research Group in 2013
Research Group in 2013 (members from left: Lirui Zhang, Sara Manafzadeh, Dr. Ares Jimenez, Dr. Michael Nowak, Barbara Weigelt, Spyros Theodoridis, Rita Ganz, Dr. Barbara Keller, Prof. Dr. Elena Conti)
Group Elena Conti
Research Group in 2010 (Members from left: Gabriele Salvo, Jurriaan de Vos, Dr. Barbara Keller, Laura Granato, Dr. Alexander Schmidt-Lebuhn, Angela Dettori, Prof. Dr. Elena Conti, Dr. Marilena Meloni, Sara Manafzadeh)
Research Group in 2006
Research Group in 2006

Prior supervising activity as faculty member

Updated 2011

Master's student:

  • Janet Jorgensen (then High School Biology and Physics teacher)

Undergraduate students:

  • Erik Suring, Honors Thesis (MS in New Zealand; then research biologist with Oregon Fish and Wildlife)
  • Jason Grant (then PhD at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland)
  • Jason Schneider (then computer assistant at the University of Alaska)

High School teachers:

  • David Boyd

Visiting scientists:

  • Bruce Bennett (Canadian Park Service)

Member of seven graduate theses committees
External Ph.D. thesis reviewer for Nicolette Louw, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa (1996)

Theses advisory and examination committee member or thesis reviewer

Updated 2011

PhD. Thesis​

University of Zurich (UZH) and other Swiss universities:

  • John Spillmann, Serge Hammerli, Karin Gross, Beatrice Nussberger, Cristina Leonarduzzi, Aelys Humphries, Berit Gehrke, Timo van der Niet, Chloe Galley, Philippe Moline, Burgi Liebst, Peter Szovenyi, Szofia Hock, Urs Landergott, Ivana Stehlik, Yannick Staedler, Julien Bachelier, Alex Kocyan, Maria von Balthazar, Albert Blarer, Fred Stauffer; Dennis Hensen, David Galeuchet, Marc Kery, Melanie Paschke, Regula Billeter, Danni Hooftmann, Judit Lienert, Shyam Nyati, Carolyn Weckerle, Deborah Zulliger, Severine Urdy, Jason Grant and Marc Hammerli

Other Universities:

  • Kangshan Mao, University of Lanzhou, China (examiner, June 2010)
  • Fang Du, University of Lanzhou, China (examiner, June 2010)
  • Beatriz Guzman Asenjo, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain (examiner, Jan 23, 2008)
  • Nicolette Louw, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa (reviewer, 1996)

Master's thesis

  • Philippe Moline (Institute of Systematic Botany, UZH)
  • Paula Rodriguez Valenzuela (Institute of Systematic Botany, UZH)
  • Piguet (University of Neuchatel, Switzerland)

Habilitation thesis

  • Peter Schönswetter, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Catherine Feuillet, Institute of Plant Biology, University of Zurich