Cell and Developmental Biology
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From September 2016 Group Leader in the Cell & Developmental Biology program at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Barcelona (Spain)
2011-2015 Postdoc at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria, Klosterneuburg (Austria), Advisors: Carl-Philipp Heisenberg and Michael Sixt
2010 Visiting Scientist at the Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (CIML), Marseille (France) in the laboratory of Didier Marguet
2010 PhD in Biophysics Johannes Kepler University, Linz (Austria), Advisor: Gerhard J. Schuetz
Development from a single cell to an organism relies on a staggering program of highly coordinated cellular processes such as cell growth, shape change, movement and cell specification. Our lab is interested how cells process information from their mechanochemical environment and generate adaptive output dynamics in different environmental contexts.
We use primary zebrafish progenitor cells as a model system to study extrinsic versus cell-intrinsic control mechanisms of cell polarization, shape change and migratory competence that drive complex three dimensional tissue rearrangements and patterning in the embryo. We perform in vivo experiments and use minimalistic in vitro culture assays that allow for reconstituting the complexity of embryonic cell dynamics in simplified environments.
Our lab follows a highly interdisciplinary approach combining molecular and cell biological tools, time lapse imaging, live cell super-resolution microscopy and perturbation experiments to obtain quantitative information from molecular to cellular and tissue scales. We complement our experimental toolkit with the development of data processing tools, Monte Carlo simulations and modelling.
Current research topics in the lab include:
- Mechanosensitive regulation of the cell cortex and motile cell transformations
- Force feedback during collective cell migration and tissue shape change
- Mechanochemical control of stochastic signalling networks for cell specification