Research interests

Cellular signaling is essential during development and homeostasis of all organisms and aberrant control of signaling pathways has been linked in many cases to disease. Our group is interested in signaling pathways that play a role during development and are implicated in tumorigenesis. We systematically analyze pathways using a combination of genomic and genetic approaches in Drosophila and cultured human cells to identify novel signaling factors and understand how signaling networks are controlled and embedded in physiological processes. During the past years, we have developed and applied methodologies to systematically dissect signaling cascades using genome-wide perturbation studies by RNA interference. We have identified several novel 'core' components that were confirmed in vivo and found novel connections between pathways that have not been previously described. A further interest of the group is to develop new screening paradigms to discover synthetic interactions and develop complementary technologies to functionally annotate the genome. Future aims include the systematic dissection of signaling networks in space and time under normal and perturbed conditions using imaging and other techniques.

 

Methods applied

Cell-based RNAi Screening, High-content imaging techniques, Deep-sequencing, Bioinformatic approaches to integrate phenotype and other genomic data sets.

 

Postdoctoral projects

We are seeking postdoctoral candidates with an interest in understanding of the function of complex biological systems.

The postdoctoral project will be part of an ERC Advanced Grant with the aim to create a systematic synthetic genetic interaction map of a metazoan cell. Based on methods that we recently pioneered (Horn et al. 2011 Nature Methods), we plan to quantitative measure genetic interactions between genes on large-scale using Drosophila cells as a model. This will include parallel phenotyping by multiparametric imaging of genetic interactions by combinatorial RNAi. The project will advance both new experimental and computational approaches and will provide fundamental insights into the cellular circuitries that govern many processes in a metazoan cells. Synthetic genetic interactions will be followed-up on selected interactions by in-depth characterization in vivo and ex vivo.

We are particularly looking for highly motivated postdoctoral researchers with a background in cell or computational biology.