Cell and Molecular Biology
Many diseases have often been described as a disease of signal transduction pathways. During development and homeostasis, cells constantly receive signals that determine whether they divide, differentiate or die. We are interested in deciphering the molecular networks that regulate cellular signaling processes and their role in development, cancer and regeneration.
New therapeutic approaches often target signaling pathway components thereby reverting their pathophysiological phenotype. From basic research into the decisions that cells take to become tumorigenic to the development of targeted therapeutic approaches, it is crucial to understand how signaling pathways are regulated, how they are integrated into complex cellular networks and at which point signaling networks are most susceptible to interference.
Most signaling pathways are highly evolutionary conserved. We are using experimental strategies in model organisms and human cells to systematically survey the genome for genes that are functionally uncharacterized, and to create new models how novel components act in established pathways.
Genetic approaches in Drosophila and Danio rerio are complemented with high-throughput screening using cell-based assays and RNA interference to identify and characterize signaling molecules. We pursue computational strategies to integrate diverse functional genomic data, from expression profiling to high-throughput sequencing.