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Our Research

We are glad that you are interested in our work.

Our research employs the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe (pombe is the Swahili word for beer, but beer made with S. pombe tastes really terrible, so it´s better to use it in the lab!) to study fundamental biological questions.

We study molecular modulators of the eukaryotic microtubule cytoskeleton to understand (a) how cellular morphogenesis i.e. the architecture of a cell is controlled (b) how the faithful transmission of genetic information from one generation to the next is maintained. Unprecise chromosome segregation will lead to the loss or gain of chromosomes and has severe negative effects on the fitness of a cell/organism. Genome instability is a hallmark of most solid cancers.

Currently, our focus is on a small high-energy signaling molecule group named inositol pyrophosphates (IPPs) (Pascual-Ortiz et al., 2018) which controls the above processes. IPPs have unique ways of controlling biological processes, so a lot of the work we do is very innovative. Our IPP work is also supported by participation in the MOI “Molecules of Infection” graduate school.

Our second main project also deals with the microtubule cytoskeleton, but here we have used our poor yeast simply as tool to identify microtubule-modulating proteins of a human bacterial pathogen Chlamydia pneumoniae (Braun C et al., 2019). The system works really well and thus we are starting to understand how a pathogenic organism can hijack the host cytoskeleton and use it for its profit.

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