WElcome to
AG May-SIMera


Our research focuses on primary cilia, eyelash-like protrusions on the cell membrane. Like 'biological antennae', they receive information that is crucial to how cells develop. When cilia don't function it can lead to serious illnesses, called ciliopathies. Specifically we are looking into how cilia function in eye and kidney cells, and how ciliopathy patients can be treated.
All of the projects currently running in the lab addresses one or more of our research themes:

Our Team

Helen May-Simera, PhD
Principal Investigator

Prof. Dr Helen May-Simera was born in Great Britain in 1981 and studied biochemistry at the University of Bath. After completing her Master's degree in 2003 she was a doctoral student at University College London, where she obtained her doctorate in 2008. She then moved to the USA to conduct research as a postdoc at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, initially at the National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders, and then later at the National Eye Institute. In 2014 she was awarded the Sofia Kovalevskaja award, allowing her to continuing her research at the University of Mainz as a young group leader. In 2021 she got tenure and became a full University Professor.                

Lab Manager &
Head of Visual Assessment Unit
Viola Kretschmer

Shereen Basiouni

Emily Belina

Support Staff
Birgit Nicklas-Görgen
Sabine Zoernack
Petra Gottlöber
PhD Students
Alina Frei
Ann-Kathrin Volz 
Dominik Reichert 
Peter Matthiessen 
Rike Hähnel
Vanessa Maißl

Masters Students
Jannis von Spreckelsen
Sara Mesic-Sivic
Antonia Raatschen

Bachelor Students
India Sophie Huß
Jonathan Becker

Sarita Patnaik
Sandra Schneider
Jana Kurpinski
Tommy Sroka
Aalaa Farag
Sophie Schroeder
Emilia Kieckhöfer
Stefanie Kornelia Becker 
Lena Brücker 
Marie Spettel
Ursula Göringer-Struwe
Eva Katharina Sophie Lund
Moritz Schäfer
Alexander Ewerling
Hannah Gonzalez Dammers

Photo Gallery


Important Links

FORTHEM Winter School 2023
This Winter School is geared towards advanced students. During the two days,talks will be given online, thus students from all FORTHEM Alliance universities will be able to join.
GenEvo Research Training Group
In the vivid network of the Research Training Group 2526, scientist are researching together on the core question of how complex and multi-layered gene regulatory systems have evolved. Experts in their field support & train our PhD students in their cross-over research as well as their personal development.
Priority programme 2127
The DFG funded priority programm SPP 2127 takes centre stage in the attempt to find effective ways to treat rare eye diseases.
Das Studienprogramm Q+ bietet leistungsstarken Studierenden die Möglichkeit, hochkarätiges Wissen jenseits der regulären Studiengänge zu erwerben.
Vision Research
An impairment of vision or even complete blindness has a debilitating impact on the quality of life of the affected person, their relatives and friends and to the economic and social systems as a whole. This factor stimulated many European countries to dedicate resources to investigate the visual system and the underlying processes. Hence, the current social and economic developments and requirements in Europe necessitate for a better support, coordination and orientation of research in the field of visual sciences.