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MSc program
Molecular Biosciences
Major Molecular and Cellular Biology

MCB Lecturers


Thomas Barends

Affiliation: MPI for Medical Research
Field of research: Our group studies anaerobic ammonium oxidation, a bacterial process that is responsible for a large part of the world’s nitrogen turnover. This process is not only very interesting because of its global importance, but also because it involves the extremely reactive intermediate hydrazine, which we humans use as a rocket fuel. Using protein crystallography and other biophysical techniques, we try to find out how bacteria produce such unusual and toxic chemicals and how they keep them under control.

e-mail: thomas.barends@mpimf-heidelberg.mpg.de
website

Jochen Baßler

Affiliation: BZH
Field of research: Our lab is interested in the biogenesis of the large and small ribosomal subunit in eukaryotic cells. This highly dynamic process is driven by approx. 200 biogenesis factors that act on different nucleolar, nucleoplasmic and cytoplasmic pre-ribosomal particles. We are applying a wide range of biochemical, genetic and cell biological methods to study this process in S. cerevisae and in the thermophile fungi C. thermophilum.

e-mail: jochenbassler@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de
website

Julien Béthune

Affiliation: BZH
Field of research: Our group is interested in the mechanisms of posttranscriptional gene silencing, notably by miRNAs, as well as in the interplay between membrane trafficking and mRNA regulation and localization in mammalian cells.

e-mail: julien.bethune@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de

website

Ilka Bischofs

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research:

Our lab studies bacterial signaling networks and bacterial stress responses. We work with Bacillus subtilis and use and interdisciplinary approach that combines quantitative imaging, genetic and molecular methods with biophysical and computational approaches.

e-mail: i.bischofs@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website

Michael Boutros

Affiliation: DKFZ
Field of research: Our lab is interested in the systematic analysis of signalling pathways during development and disease. We use genomic technologies as well as cell biology and genetics in model systems and human cells in order to dissect how signals are secreted, how they are received and transmitted.

e-mail: m.boutros@dkfz.de
website


Britta Brügger

Affiliation: BZH
Field of research:

e-mail: britta.bruegger@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de

website

 

Michael Brunner

Affiliation: BZH
Field of research: Circadian Rhythms and Molecular Clocks

e-mail: michael.brunner@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Bernd Bukau

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research: The goal of our research is to understand the molecular mechanisms and
functional networking of chaperones in protein biogenesis and quality control. We furthermore aim to elucidate causes and consequences of protein aggregation related to disease, including cancer and neurodegeneration. Within the past years we extended our models from E. coli to S. cerevisiae, C. elegans and human cells, and are employing multi-disciplinary approaches ranging from genetics and molecular biology to biochemistry and biophysics.

e-mail: b.bukau@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website

 

Christine Clayton

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research: We study mRNA degradation and translation control. Trypanosomes depend heavily on post-transcriptional mechanisms to control gene expression and are an ideal model system. We use high throughput and “omic” technologies as well as classical methods to study the complexes that degrade mRNAs, and how they are controlled. Our work also has a practical side because trypanosomes cause diseases in millions of people and their domestic animals.

e-mail: cclayton@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Alexander Dalpke

Affiliation: Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene
Field of research: The focus of my research is infection and immunity. We are studying stimulatory and inhibitory signals within cells of the innate immune system. Interactions with the environment, and especially with microbes, are sensed by pattern recognition receptors. Among those, Toll-like receptors (TLR) play an outstanding role. We analyze nucleic acid recognition by TLRs, regulation of professional innate immune cells by airway epithelial cells and inhibition of signal transduction by suppressor of cytokine signaling proteins (SOCS).

e-mail: alexander.dalpke@med.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Tobias Dick

Affiliation: DKFZ
Field of research: We are investigating signaling pathways by which endogenous hydrogen peroxide contributes to the regulation and deregulation of cellular physiology. We are interested in the nature of redox alterations that accompany inflammation and malignant growth. Special attention is devoted to the molecular mechanisms by which H2O2 achieves specificity as a signaling molecule. Another focus is the effort to uncover and understand the spatio-temporal dynamics of redox processes in vivo.

e-mail: T.Dick@dkfz.de
website

 

Sven Diederichs

Affiliation: DKFZ
Field of research: The largest part of the human genome is transcribed into long non-protein-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), but the functional role of this important class of molecules in health and disease is largely unknown. Our research elucidates the function and regulation of lncRNAs mainly in lung cancer complemented by projects in liver and breast cancer and leukemia. For our research, we use innovative techniques in molecular and cellular biology such as genome editing and RNA affinity purifications.

e-mail: s.diederichs@dkfz.de
website


Roland Eils

Affiliation: DKFZ
Field of research: Analysis and mathematical modelling of complex processes in molecular and cell biology.

e-mail: r.eils@urz.uni-heidelberg.de
website

 

Sylvia Erhardt

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research: We are studying how centromeric chromatin ensures that chromosomes are segregated correctly during cell division. We are studying the molecular mechanisms of how centromeric chromatin forms and how epigenetic mechanisms ensure its inheritance from one generation to the next. Thereby we focus on chromatin complexes, histone variants, and non-coding RNAs under physiological conditions and under cellular stress (e.g. DNA damage). We are using the model organisms Drosophila with all its fantastic genetic, cell biological, and biochemical tools, and also relate our findings to human cells in order to elucidate the implications of centromere misregulation in human disease such as cancer.

e-mail: s.erhardt@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Stefan Fischer

 

Affiliation: IWR
Field of research: Our goal is understanding the biochemical mechanisms of proteins, using computer simulations to complement experimental data. These are applied to understand substrate binding and transport, the catalytic mechanism of enzymes, and the conversion of energy by transmembrane ion-pumps or molecular motors. The resulting knowledge can serve for drug design, to optimize biotechnological processes and to inspire developments in the nanotechnologies.

e-mail: stefan.fischer@iwr.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Cordula Harter

Affiliation: BZH
Teaching Coordinator BZH

e-mail: cordula.harter@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Janosch Hennig

Affiliation: EMBL
Field of research: The Hennig lab uses a hybrid structural biology approach, combining mainly NMR with small-angle scattering methods to determine structures and dynamics of larger protein-RNA complexes. These complexes are involved in translation repression, mRNA degradation and transcription regulation, where long non-coding RNAs contribute to the binding of chromatin-modifying complexes to chromatin.

e-mail: janosch.hennig@embl-heidelberg.de
website

 

Harald Herrmann-Lerdon

Affiliation: DKFZ
Field of research: Intermediate filaments (IF) are major constituents both of the cytoskeleton and the nucleoskeleton in all metazoan cells. They are of prime importance for the functional organization of basic structural elements within cells, but also for the coordination of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, and therefore eventually for organogenesis. In man, IF proteins constitute a protein family that is coded for by 70 genes. Their expression proceeds in parallel with certain routes of differentiation during embryogenesis.  Depending on the cell type, the amount of IF proteins may differ considerably and, notably, morphologically similar but biochemically very distinct proteins all may form highly viscoelastic filament networks with multiple nanomechanical functions. Besides their primary role in cell plasticity and their established function as cellular stress absorbers, recently discovered gene defects have elucidated that structural alterations of IFs as well as the nuclear lamina can affect their involvement both in signaling and in controlling gene regulatory networks. Indeed, the IF gene family appears to be one of the most highly mutated ones in man giving rise to more than 80 different disease entities. Therefore, a deeper insight into the basic structural and functional properties of intermediate filaments is of prime importance. Hence, new concepts of how mutations may affect cellular architecture and thereby tissue physiology, and how they eventually lead to complex diseases such as cardiomyopathy and premature ageing, are absolutely essential. Our work aims to elucidate the molecular basis of filament assembly and network formation as well as the characterization of their biophysical properties.

e-mail: h.herrmann@dkfz.de
website


Ingrid Hoffmann

Affiliation: DKFZ
Field of research: The Hoffmann lab is studying the mechanisms that control duplication of the centrosome in normal and in cancer cells. The central question behind our work is how the centrosome controls cell function and how defects in these structure cause a remarkable range of human diseases including cancer.

e-mail: ingrid.hoffmann@dkfz.de
website

 

Ilse Hofmann

Affiliation: DKFZ
Field of research: Cell adhesion and signaling

e-mail: i.hofmann@dkfz.de
website


Ed Hurt

Affiliation: BZH
Field of research: The Hurt lab studies the nuclear pore complex and the mechanism of nuclear export of RNA. This work has also involved investigation of other cell machines, especially those that assemble and export mRNAs and ribosomal subunits.

e-mail: ed.hurt@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Claudio Joazeiro

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research:

e-mail: c.joazeiro@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website

 

Henrik Kaessmann

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research: A primary goal in biology is to understand the molecu­lar basis of phenotypic evolution, most notably that of humans and other mammals. Most phenotypic differences between species are likely due to regulatory mutations that affect gene expression. Our lab is therefore generating comprehensive sets of RNA-seq data and various other high-throughput “omics” (e.g., epigenomic, metabolomic, proteomic) datasets for a large collection of tissues from representative mammals and performs integrated analyses of these data to study the expression (regulatory) evolution of mammalian genomes across gene types, lineages, organs, developmental stages, cell types, chromosomes and sexes.

e-mail: h.kaessmann@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website

 

Ursula Klingmüller

Affiliation: DKFZ
Field of research: The focus of our division is aimed at the quantitative analysis of signaling in mammalian cells. We have pioneered dynamic pathway modeling and advanced standardized data generation for mathematical modeling purposes. The main projects of the division address (i) unraveling principal mechanisms of erythropoietin (Epo)-mediated cellular decisions in the hematopoietic system, (ii) bridging from the cellular to the whole organ level during liver regeneration and in liver diseases and (iii) insights into altered regulation in cancer and prediction of strategies for efficient intervention in diseases (lung cancer, drug-induced liver injury, viral infection).

e-mail: U.Klingmueller@dkfz.de
website

 

Michael Knop

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research: The Knop lab is focussed on the understanding of cellular processes related to cell morphogenesis and cell signaling. We apply systemic approaches to understand the collective behavior of molecules and how they provide functionality to cells. Our goal is to gain a quantitative understanding by using state-of-the art methods, in particular advanced microscopic techniques or instrumentation in order to visualize the spatial and temporal behavior of molecules inside living cells.

e-mail: m.knop@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website

 

Martin Kos

Affiliation: BZH
Field of research: The lab investigates ribosomal RNA processing and ribosome biogenesis in yeast, with the focus on the roles of small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) and RNA helicases in this complex pathway. In addition, we investigate the role of rRNA modifications in both assembly and function of the ribosome.

e-mail: martin.kos@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de
website

 

Luise Krauth-Siegel

Affiliation: BZH
Field of research: Trypanosomes are the causative agents of African sleeping sickness and Nagana cattle disease (Trypanosoma brucei species), as well as of South American Chagas' disease (T. cruzi). Aim of our work is to analyze the unique trypanothione thiol redox metabolism of trypanosomes in atomic detail and to contribute to the development of new antiparasitic drugs on the basis of specific enzyme inhibitors.

e-mail: luise.krauth-siegel@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Michael Lanzer

Affiliation: Centre for Infectious Diseases
Field of research: Molecular Parasitology, mechanisms of drug resistance in P. falciparum; antigenic variation, cytoadherence, protein trafficking in P. falciparum, membrane transport processes, natural protection from malaria by haemoglobinopathies.

e-mail: michael.lanzer@med.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Johannes Lechner

Affiliation: BZH
Field of research: Kinetochore and Chromosome Segregation / ESI MS Service

e-mail: johannes.lechner@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Marius Lemberg

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research: In my group we study intramembrane proteases, which are unusual enzymes that perform an unexpected task in cells - to cleave peptide bonds in the plane of membranes. Initially these proteases have been seen primarily as regulatory switches, e.g. activating a membrane-anchored transcription factor to control sterol synthesis or to govern membrane-remodeling events. Hence, deregulation of intramembrane proteases has severe effects on a multitude of important cellular functions and causes severe pathologies such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Recently we found that intramembrane proteolysis have an additional important function, acting as general safeguards of the membrane proteome. By applying a large repertoire of cell-based and in vitro assays, we are currently focusing on two aspects:
1.) Intramembrane proteolysis as new regulatory arm of the ER-associated degradation pathway.
2.) Regulation of mitophagy by the rhomboid protease PARL.

e-mail: m.lemberg@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Dimitris Liakopoulos

Affiliation: BZH
Field of research: Spindle positioning in yeast

e-mail: dimitris.liakopoulos@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Frank Lyko

Affiliation: DKFZ
Field of research: Epigenetic mechanisms regulate the interpretation of genetic information and adapt gene expression patterns to changing developmental or environmental contexts. Our research focuses on understanding the biological function of DNA methylation, which represents the best-studied and arguably most relevant epigenetic mark.

e-mail: f.lyko@dkfz.de
website


Alexis Maizel

Affiliation: COS
Field of research: Our lab is interested in the molecular and cellular basis of developmental plasticity in plants. We focus in particular on the role of small regulatory RNAs (micro-RNAs) and their role in controlling root growth.

e-mail: alexis.maizel@cos.uni-heidelberg.de

website

 

Matthias Mayer

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research:

Our research focus is the molecular mechanism of Hsp70 and Hsp90 chaperones. We analyze their conformational dynamics, how they are controlled by cochaperones and how they influence the conformation of client proteins, among which are many key regulatory proteins such as
transcription factors and kinases. To characterize these proteins and protein-protein-interactions we mainly use biochemical and biophysical techniques including hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry and fluorescence spectroscopy.

e-mail: m.mayer@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Anton Meinhart

Affiliation: MPI
Field of research:

e-mail: anton.meinhart@mpimf-heidelberg.mpg.de
website

 

Frauke Melchior

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research: Projects in the lab aim at understanding mechanisms, regulation and function of SUMOylation in mammalian cells.Reversible attachment of SUMO serves to regulate protein-protein interactions, subcellular localization, enzymatic activity and stability,and contributes to numerous pathways in health and disease.

e-mail: f.melchior@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Axel Mogk

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research: Bacterial secretion and virulence; Protein folding and quality control; Molecular chaperones and proteases

e-mail: a.mogk@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Carmen Nussbaum

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research:Our group aims to elucidate causes and consequences of protein aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases. These diseases exhibit a complex pathology involving non-cell autonomous effects and progressive spreading of protein misfolding. Using the metazoan model system C . elegans we want to understand how local protein misfolding is affecting neighboring cells and tissues and how proteostasis is orchestrated at the organismal level.

e-mail: c.nussbaum@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website

 

Gislene Pereira

Affiliation: DKFZ
Field of research: Our group is interested in understanding the role of centrosomes in cell cycle progression and ciliogenesis. For this, we use a broad range of cell biology, biochemical and genetic techniques to investigate centrosomal-associated signalling cascades in budding yeast and cilia formation in mammalian cells.

e-mail: g.pereira@dkfz.de
website


Jochen Reinstein

Affiliation: MPI
Field of research: The Reinstein group works on elucidation of molecular mechanisms of ATP driven motors (mostly chaperones) and principles of protein folding. The major techniques applied mostly belong to the field of Biochemistry/Biophysics, namely rapid kinetics, Spectroscopy and structural methods (in collaboration with Schlichting and Meinhart group, also MPI).

e-mail: jochen.reinstein@mpimf-heidelberg.mpg.de
website


Klaus Scheffzek

Affiliation:
Field of research: Signal transduction & disease proteins

e-mail: klaus.scheffzek@i-med.ac.at
website


Elmar Schiebel

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research: Segregation of chromosomes in mitosis and regulation of mitotic exit

e-mail: e.schiebel@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Anne-Lore Schlaitz

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research: The Schlaitz lab investigates the structure and dynamics of membrane-bound organelles during mitosis. We would like to understand how the shape and position of organelles are controlled during cell division and how organelles and microtubules cooperate to ensure successful mitotic progression. We currently use tissue culture cells as models and apply a range of advanced imaging methods as well as biochemical assays.

e-mail: a.schlaitz@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website

 

Ilme Schlichting

Affiliation: MPI
Field of research: Flavin-based Photoreceptors, Heme Thiolate enzymes.

e-mail: ilme.schlichting@mpimf-heidelberg.mpg.de
website


Marion Schmidt-Zachmann

Affiliation: DKFZ
Field of research: Functional characterization of nucleolar proteins and analyses of their role(s) in the development of hematological malignancies, in particular of acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

e-mail: m.schmidt-zachmann@dkfz.de
website


Sebastian Schuck

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research: Organelle-selective autophagy

e-mail: s.schuck@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Bernd Simon

Affiliation: EMBL
Field of research: Structural Biology

e-mail: simon@embl-heidelberg.de
website


Irmi Sinning

Affiliation: BZH
Field of research: Protein Transport by SRP and Membrane Proteins

e-mail: irmi.sinning@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Thomas Söllner

Affiliation: BZH
Field of research: Our goal is to reveal how the molecular fusion machinery assembles and controls calcium-triggered exocytosis and fusion pore dynamics. We study the role of defined regulators at distinct steps of the assembly pathway using reconstituted fusion and cellular exocytosis assays. To obtain structural information, we are collaborating with other laboratories in Heidelberg.

e-mail: thomas.soellner@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Robert Shoeman

Affiliation: MPI
Field of research:

e-mail: robert.shoeman@mpimf-heidelberg.mpg.de
website

 

Georg Stoecklin

Affiliation: ZMBH/CBTM
Field of research: By regulating the stability and translation rate of mRNAs, cells can rapidly turn on and off the expression of critical proteins. We examine molecular mechanisms that determine the translation and turnover of mRNAs in cells of the mammalian immune system, in cancer cells and in the context of stress responses.

e-mail: g.stoecklin@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


Aurelio Teleman

Affiliation: DKFZ
Field of research: The lab studies how cells regulate their growth, using both Drosophila and mammalian tissue culture. This has implications for both normal animal development and cancer development

e-mail: a.teleman@dkfz.de
website


Andreas Untergasser

Affiliation: ZMBH
Field of research: Our research focuses at the border between
bioinformatics and molecular biology. We cover primer design with
contributions to the tool Primer3 and the development of Primer3Plus and
quantitative PCR with contributions to the machine intependent data
format RDML and the development of the editor RDML-Ninja. In the last
years we expanded our research into the field of next generation
sequencing in collaboration with the EMBL.

e-mail: a.untergasser@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website

 

Renate Voit

Affiliation: DKFZ
Field of research: We are investigating molecular mechanisms that coordinate gene transcription at the epigenetic and non epigenetic level with cell growth, proliferation, and stress signaling. Our focus is on mammalian Sirtuins, a family of conserved NAD+-dependent protein deacetylases and ADP-ribosyltransferases involved in diverse cellular processes, such as cell cycle control, aging, energy metabolism, metabolic and oxidative stress, and tumorigenesis.

e-mail: r.voit@dkfz.de
website


Rebecca Wade

Affiliation: HITS/ZMBH
Field of research: Molecular and Cellular Modeling. The group works on the development and application of computer-aided methods to predict and simulate biomolecular interactions. The focus is on proteins and our computational approaches are mostly based on the three-dimensional structures of macromolecules. We take an interdisciplinary approach, entailing collaboration with experimentalists and concerted use of computational approaches based on physics and bio-/chemo-informatics. The broad spectrum of techniques employed ranges from interactive, web-based visualization tools to atomic-detail molecular simulations.

e-mail: r.wade@zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de
website

 

Felix Wieland

Affiliation: BZH
Field of research: Vesicular Transport

e-mail: felix.wieland@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de
website

 

Klemens Wild

Affiliation: BZH
Field of research: mechanisms of key cellular processes at the atomic level. We focus on molecular machines involved in protein targeting, insertion and membrane translocation. The combination of structural biology to elucidate the three-dimensional architecture of macromolecular complexes with functional analyses provides the mechanistic principles

e-mail: klemens.wild@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de
website


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