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Departmental Project Leaders

NMR SPECTROSCOPY  

Project Leader: Murray Coles | Department: Protein Evolution - Lupas
NMR spectroscopy is a powerful tool for examining the structure, dynamics and interactions of biological macromolecules in solution. The NMR spectroscopy group is part of the wider structural biology platform within the Department of Protein Evolution, and is involved in several projects investigating protein structure and function. Several projects study the evolution of complex protein folds from simpler peptide units.



PROTEIN FOLDING, UNFOLDING AND DEGRADATION

Project Leader: Jörg Martin | Department:  Protein Evolution - Lupas  
Folding, unfolding and degradation of proteins is mediated by complex macromolecular assemblies in the cell. We investigate the structure, function and evolution of these nanomachines.

Crystal structure of a GroEL/GroES chaperonin complex

CONSERVATION OF PROTEIN STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION

Project Leader: Birte Hernandez | Department: Protein Evolution - Lupas  
We use various biochemical, biophysical and microbiological techniques to explore conserved structural characteristics of proteins and their importance for function, by going from prokaryotes to eukaryotes.



MOLECULAR RECOGNITION AND CATALYSIS

Project Leader: Marcus Hartmann | Department: Protein Evolution - Lupas  
We employ classical biochemistry, X-ray crystallography and spectroscopic approaches to study biomolecular interactions in contexts ranging from enzymatic catalysis to macromolecular complexes.



PROTEIN BIOINFORMATICS

Project Leader: Vikram Alva | Department: Protein Evolution - Lupas  
We use bioinformatic approaches to elucidate the structure, function, and evolution of proteins.



STRUCTURE FUNCTION RELATIONSHIP  

Project Leader: Steffen Schmidt | Department: Biochemistry - Izaurralde  
We are interested in the effect of mutations on the function of a protein and the implication of this on diseases and population genetics.



RETROTRANSPOSITION AND REGULATORY RNAs  

Project Leader: Oliver Weichenrieder | Department:  Biochemistry - Izaurralde  
We study the molecular basis of cellular processes that are mediated by RNA. Our focus is on molecular parasites in the human genome (LINE-1 and Alu retrotransposons) and on the regulation of mRNA degradation. We use x-ray crystallography together with biochemical approaches and cell-based assays.

Many cellular processes are regulated at the level of RNA. We investigate the molecular mechanisms that govern the retrotransposition, the translational repression and the regulated degradation of RNA. We use X-ray crystallography in combination with biochemical approaches and cell-based assays.

HOST PHENOTYPE EFFECTS OF HERITABLE GUT MICROBIOTA 

Project Leader: Jillian Waters | Department: Microbiome Science - Ley
We study the relationship between humans and their gut microbiota by focusing on associations between specific microbes that are under the influence of host genetics (i.e., heritable microbes) and their effect on host weight, adiposity, and other health-associated phenotypes. We are interested in the mechanisms underlying the associations between host phenotype and the ecology of heritable microbes.


ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION OF HOST-ASSOCIATED METHANOGENS 

Project Leader: Nicholas Youngblut | Department: Microbiome Science - Ley
Methanogenic archaea inhabiting the gut are under the influence of host genetics (i.e., they are heritable) and are also associated with host metabolism and other health-associated phenotypes. We are interested in the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms underlying these associations.


EVOLUTIONARY GENOMICS AND BIOINFORMATICS 

Project Leader: Christian Rödelsperger | Department:  Evolutionary Biology - Sommer
Our group is analyzing large-scale sequencing data for finding the genetic basis for various traits and to characterize general patterns of genome evolution in nematodes.



GENETICS IN PARASITIC NEMATODES  

Project Leader: Adrian Streit | Department:  Evolutionary Biology - Sommer
We combine molecular and genetic approaches to study life history switches and reproductive strategies in parasitic nematodes of the genera Strongyloides and Onchocerca.

We combine molecular and genetic approaches to study life history switches, i. e. the switch between the parasitic and the free-living cycle and sex determination in the parasitic nematode genus Strongyloides spp.

ENTOMO-NEMATOLOGY  

Project Leader: Matthias Herrmann | Department: Evolutionary Biology - Sommer  
Nematode biology, phylogeny and ecology: Being convinced that environments shape genomes we hope that the study of ecology, behaviour, interactions and relationships of nematodes in nature will explain many results molecular biology provided already but could not be explained so far.



FERTILIZATION AND EMBRYOGENESIS IN PLANTS  

Project Leader: Martin Bayer | Department: Cell Biology - Jürgens  
Our group is interested in signaling pathways that link fertilization with the onset of embryogenesis in plants. We are focusing on factors provided by the male gametophyte that play an important role in gamete interaction and early embryogenesis.



ANCIENT GENOMICS AND EVOLUTION  

Project Leader: Hernan A. Burbano | Department: Molecular Biology - Weigel 
We study the co-evolution of plants, theirs pathogens and their associated microbiome using modern and ancient DNA.