A naturalist with a keen interest in molecules to organisms and in a pursuit to bridge Eco-Evo-Dev
Zeeshan A. Mirza
Department of Integrative Evolutionary Biology
Max Planck Institute for Biology
Max-Planck-Ring 5, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
Hi, I am Zeeshan and welcome to my personal webpage
I am a biologist based at the Max Planck Institute for Biology Tübingen (Germany). I am broadly interested in evolutionary systematics and developmental biology. I have been fascinated by reptiles and arachnids since my childhood and these still remain the focus of my research. I have a keen interest in the taxonomy of these species and in exploring the mechanisms of epimorphic regeneration in spiders.
I was fortunate to have been born and brought up in Mumbai, which helped to shape my interest in biodiversity research. Aarey Milk Colony in Mumbai served as a place to explore my interest and learn at the same time about the taxa of my interest and an ever-supporting community of naturalists. I explored the forests of Mumbai during my bachelors from Bhavans College. I moved to the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore for masters in Wildlife Biology and Conservation in 2012 and since have been based here. Over these years, I travelled across the Western Ghats, parts of northeast India to document the diversity of reptiles, amphibians and arachnids. I have discovered and described several species of reptiles and arachnids from across India. The new species were a result of rapid surveys conducted across the Western Ghats, central India, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and state across northeast India.
I was exposed to the fascinating realm of developmental biology when I joined the lab of Prof. K. VijayRaghavan in 2017. I started pursuing masters’ by research, studied appendicular regeneration in Plexippus paykulli. As part of the thesis, I worked towards proposing it as a model organism to study its regenerative abilities. Furthermore, work is in progress to generate genomic data for the species to focus on the underlying molecular mechanisms of regeneration.
Currently, I continue to work on projects on the systematics of herpetofauna and arachnids of India and working towards building a network of researchers to focus on Indian herpetofauna in addition to pursuing a PhD. For my PhD, I am working on tracing the molecular basis of developmental plasticity in nematodes of the genus Pristionchus.