University of Heidelberg

Department for Cell and Molecular Biology


Research Groups


Michael Boutros. Signaling and Functional Genomics. Signal transduction pathways and their integration into cellular networks play a key role for cell differentiation, pattern formation, and homeostasis. The ability to correctly receive and transmit molecular signals is crucial for all organisms. Perturbations leading to improper activation, for example through mutations, have severe consequences, such as the development of cancer in man. We are studying signaling systems using post-genomic analysis approaches. A focus in our group is the application of large-scale genetic and genomic approaches, such as RNA interference screens to comprehensively characterize gene function on a genome-wide scale. We pursue both experimental and computational approaches and study conserved developmental-oncogenic signaling pathways in cultured human cells and in model organisms.


Veit Riechmann. Regulation of cell polarity and cytoskeletal dynamics by signaling. Central problems in the development of many diseases are loss of cell polarity and mis-regulation of the cytoskeleton.  We are addressing these problems with the help of the Drosophila oogenesis system. Oogenesis proceeds in simple organs consisting of a germline cyst, which is encapsulated by an epithelial layer.  The understanding of the mechanisms regulating polarity and cytoskeleton is highly relevant for human health.  For example, loss of cell polarity is a hallmark of most tumour cells.  Further, the understanding of cytoskeletal regulation during morphogenesis will greatly advance our knowledge of abnormal cell behaviour in a variety of human diseases.  A key question is how signaling controls cell polarisation and cytoskeletal organisation. More ...


Matthias Carl. Wnt Signaling in Zebrafish. Wnt-signaling is involved in a variety of processes, which include the emergence of diseases like cancer as well as early embryonic development. We are particularly interested in the development of the vertebrate brain and we are using the zebrafish (Danio rerio) as our model organism to study the genetic pathways, which underlie its development. The vertebrate brain is an immensely complex structure, which exhibits numerous asymmetries, both morphological and functional. We are combining molecular biology, genetics and advanced imaging to elucidate where, when and how Wnt/b-catenin signaling contributes to the establishment of brain asymmetries. Our main tools are the analysis of zebrafish mutated in genes known to act in this pathway. More ...


Last updated: 15.05.2014