Spatial regulation and dynamic control of chromatin and genome architecture
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 they cooperate, 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 fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe). This powerful model system has the advantage of sharing many of the conserved hallmarks of heterochromatin present in higher eukaryotes (e.g. repressive histone H3-Lys9 methylation, HP1 proteins, RNAi). Its relatively small genome can be easily and precisely manipulated and allows us applying advanced genomics tools, like automated genetic crosses and epistasis interaction maps at the genome-wide scale.
We are part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) "Cell2Cell" that investigates how cell-to-cell heterogeneity in chromatin structure promotes adaptation to changes in the environment. We are further member of the collaborative research center Chromatin Dynamics (SFB 1064) and its integrated research training program (IRTG) for PhD students. In addition, our lab is associated with the International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Life Sciences (IMPRS-LS).