LOEWE Center for
Insect Biotechnology
& Bioresources

Eileen Knorr

Dr. rer. nat.

Group leader

Phone: +49 641 972-19160

Email: eileen.knorr@ime.fraunhofer.de

Room: A 215

Building: Fraunhofer IME - Neubau


Since 12/2012 Postdoc, Institute for Phytopathology and Applied Entomology, JLU Giessen
04/2010–11/2012 Postdoc, Fraunhofer IME, Bioresources Project Group 
03/2012 PhD in natural sciences (Dr. rer. nat.) at the Justus-Liebig University, Giessen, Germany 
06/2010–03/2012 Research assistant, Fraunhofer IME, Bioresources Project Group
05/2007–05/2010 Research assistant, Institute for Phytopathology and Applied Entomology, JLU Giessen
10/1999–02/2007 Studies in biology, Ruhr-University Bochum (Prof. Dr. Schaub)

Research Interests

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding RNAs approximately 22 nucleotides in length that have been found in diverse species including many animals and plants. Their major function is the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression by base-pairing with the 3ʹ untranslated region of target messenger RNAs. A single miRNA can regulate hundreds of different target genes and more than 30 per cent of the genes in animals are thought to be regulated in this manner. Therefore, miRNAs play an important role in many biological processes. Thousands of miRNAs have been identified since the discovery of the first examples 20 years ago, but most are computational predictions without experimental confirmation. Our project therefore focuses on the expression and functional characterization of miRNAs from the model beetle Tribolium castaneum., We used microarray analysis to study miRNA expression under different forms of stress, including starvation, infection and heat shock. This approach has, for the first time, identified T. castaneum miRNAs with differential and sex-specific expression profiles in response to environmental stress. In the future, we will focus on the functional characterization of single miRNAs and the identification of physiological target genes.


Knorr E, Fishilevich E, Tenbusch L, Frey MLF, Rangasamy M, Billion A, Worden SE, Gandra P, Arora K, Lo W, Schulenberg G, Valverde-Garcia P, Vilcinskas A, Narva KE (2018) Gene silencing in Tribolium castaneum as a tool for the targeted identification of candidate RNAi targets in crop pests Scientific Reports, 8 (1)
Bingsohn L, Knorr E, Billion A, Narva KE, Vilcinskas A (2017) Knockdown of genes in the Toll pathway reveals new lethal RNA interference targets for insect pest control Insect Molecular Biology, 26 (1) , 92-102.
Bingsohn L, Knorr E, Vilcinskas A (2016) The model beetle Tribolium castaneum can be used as an early warning system for transgenerational epigenetic side effects caused by pharmaceuticals. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology & Pharmacology, 185–186 , 57–64.
Knorr E, Schmidtberg H, Arslan D, Bingsohn L, Vilcinskas A (2015) Translocation of bacteria from the gut to the eggs triggers maternal transgenerational immune priming in Tribolium castaneum. Biology Letters, 11 (12) , 1–5.
Tonk M, Knorr E, Cabezas-Cruz A, Valdés JJ, Kollewe C, Vilcinskas A (2015) Tribolium castaneum defensins are primarily active against Gram-positive bacteria. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 132 , 208–215.
Vogel H, Badapanda C, Knorr E, Vilcinskas A (2014) RNA-sequencing analysis reveals abundant developmental stage-specific and immunity-related genes in the pollen beetle Meligethes aeneus Insect Molecular Biology, 23 (1) , 98–112.
Grünwald S, Stellzig J, Adam IV, Weber K, Binger S, Boll M, Knorr E, Twyman RM, Vilcinskas A, Wenzel U (2013) Longevity in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum is enhanced by broccoli and depends on nrf-2, jnk-1 and foxo-1 homologous genes. Genes & Nutrition, 8 (5) , 439–448.
Knorr E, Bingsohn L, Kanost MR, Vilcinskas A (2013) Tribolium castaneum as a model for high-throughput RNAi screening. Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology, 136 , 163-178.
Freitak D, Knorr E, Vogel H, Vilcinskas A (2012) Gender- and stressor-specific microRNA expression in Tribolium castaneum. Biology Letters, 8 (5) , 860-863.
Knorr E, Vilcinskas A (2011) Post-embryonic functions of HSP90 in Tribolium castaneum include the regulation of compound eye development. Development Genes and Evolution, 221 (5-6) , 357-362.
Knorr E, Schmidtberg H, Vilcinskas A, Altincicek B (2009) MMPs regulate both development and immunity in the Tribolium model insect. PLoS One, 4 (3) , 1–14.
Altincicek B, Knorr E, Vilcinskas A (2008) Beetle immunity: Identification of immune-inducible genes from the model insect Tribolium castaneum. Developmental & Comparative Immunology, 32 (5) , 585-595.
Balczun C, Knorr E, Topal H, Meiser CK, Kollien AH, Schaub GA (2008) Sequence characterization of an unusual lysozyme gene expressed in the intestinal tract of the reduviid bug Triatoma infestans (Insecta). Parasitology Research, 102 (2) , 229–232.