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. While S. pombe is less complex than metazoans, it shares many of the conserved hallmarks of heterochromatin (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, 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 a member of the collaborative research center Chromatin Dynamics (SFB 1064) and its PhD training program (IRTG). In addition we are part of the Marie Skłodowska Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) “Cell2Cell”. Our lab is also associated with the International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Life Sciences (IMPRS-LS). We are further funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the Friedrich Baur Stiftung, and the former European Network of Excellence Epigenesys.