Our main interest is the spatial and temporal regulation of heterochromatin, a transcriptionally inactive (silent) form of chromatin that is crucial for cellular differentiation, genome stability and chromosome organization.
We seek to address which factors contribute to heterochromatin regulation, how do they cooperate with each other, and what are the underlying mechanisms by which they shape and control heterochromatin.
For this, we employ genetics and functional genomics to identify novel factors and assign them to functional pathways and regulatory networks. Using live-cell imaging, molecular biology and biochemistry, we further seek to understand the underlying mechanisms of regulation. As a model, we use the powerful fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) system.
S. pombe has the great advantage of being less complex than metazoans while still sharing many of the conserved hallmarks of heterochromatin present in higher eukaryotes (e.g. repressive histone H3-Lys9 methylation, HP1 proteins, RNAi). Its relatively small genome can be easily and precisely manipulated and allows us applying various advanced genomics tools, like automated genetic crosses and epistasis interaction maps at the genome-wide scale.
Our lab is highly international and part of the Department of Physiological Chemistry of the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) Munich. We are located in the Biomedical Center (BMC) on the Martinsried Campus in the south of Munich. We are 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.
We are part of the EC-funded Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN) “Cell2Cell that investigates how cell-to-cell heterogeneity in chromatin structure promotes adaptation to changes in the environment. We are also a member of the collaborative research center Chromatin Dynamics (SFB 1064) and its PhD training program (IRTG). In addition, our lab is associated with the International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Life Sciences (IMPRS-LS).
We are funded by the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) of the European Commission (EC), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the Friedrich Baur Stiftung, and the former European Network of Excellence Epigenesys.