We are interested in understanding how heterochromatin, a transcriptionally inactive (silent) form of chromatin, is regulated. For this, we are employing genetics and functional genomics to identify novel factors and to assign them to functional pathways and networks. Using live-cell imaging, molecular biology methods and biochemistry, we then seek to understand the underlying mechanisms by which these factors shape and control heterochromatin. As a model, we use the powerful fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) system, which harbors many of the conserved hallmarks of heterochromatin of higher eukaryotes (histone H3-Lys9 methylation, HP1 homologs, RNA interference). Yet, compared to metazoans, S. pombe has a small and less redundant genome and can be easily manipulated by genetics. This allows us to apply various advanced genomics tools like genome-wide screens for functional assays, large-scale genetic crosses (SGA, synthetic genetic array) and genetic interactions (EMAP, epistasis mini-array profiling) analyses.

Our lab is part of the Department of Physiological Chemistry and located in the Biomedical Center (BMC) on the Martinsried Campus in the south of Munich, directly next to the BioCenter and the Max Planck Institutes of Biochemistry and Neurobiology and in close proximity to the Gene Center and Helmholtz Institute of the Grosshadern Campus.