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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI Life Sciences

Research projects

Current Projects
Finished projects

Current Projects

HU-NUS Profilpartnership: Patterning and Timing in Development and Evolution

Funding: HU / Singapore

Period: 2017 - 2018

Project partner: David Garfield (HU), Tim Saunders (NUS)

interior 450x650 saundersEmbryonic development represents a balancing act between robustness and evolvability. For individual organisms, developmental processes must be robust to environmental fluctuations and the influence of segregating mutations.  But at the same time, development must be able to evolve if populations are to adapt. Understanding this interplay requires the integration of genetic and evolutionary approaches, a physical understanding of how the embryo develops, and modern methods for assessing developmental phenotypes (from developmental rate to embryonic shape to developmental gene expression profiles). HU and NUS lead in aspects of this required synthesis. Through a workshop and funding for preliminary research collaborations, we propose to combine these strengths in pursuit of competitive research projects aimed at understanding the emergence of developmental robustness and evolvability.


HU-PU Profilpartnership: How to Shape Living Structures — Factors Controlling Spindle Geometry

Funding: HU / Princeton

Period: 2017 - 2019

Project partner: Simone Reber (HU), Sabine Petry (PU)

simone princtonThe goal of this research project is to understand the way in which cells engineer larger scale structures, in particular the mitotic spindle. In particular, we wish to understand (1) how the biochemical heterogeneity of tubulin effects spindle organization, how the correct (2) number and (3) length of microtubules is regulated to build a spindle of the correct size. An important objective of our proposal continues to be graduate and postgraduate training including lab exchanges. Taken together, the proposed work will provide important insights into the physical principles that underlie the organization of the mitotic spindle as a molecular machine, which is likely to haveimportant implications for its function in cell proliferation and molecular origins of diseases.


IRTG 2290 - Crossing Boundaries: Molecular Interaction in Malaria

Funding: DFG

Period: 2017 - 2022

Project partner: Kai Matuschewski (HU, spokesperson), Edda Klipp (HU), Christian Schmitz-Linneweber (HU), Simone Reber (HU), Benedikt Beckmann (HU), Nishith Gupta (HU), Alyssa Ingmundsson (HU), Leif-Erik Sander (Charité), Frank Mockenhaupt (Charité), Frank Seeber (RKI) and 8 PIs at the Australian National University (ANU)

LogoThe Berlin-Canberra alliance addresses fundamental issues in malaria through an International Research Training Program (IRTG 2290). Molecular insights into Plasmodium infections can generate novel evidence-based strategies to develop curative and prophylactic drugs, and immunization strategies that elicit lasting protection against the disease.

 

 


HantaHunt: Structure and function analyses of the Hantavirus envelope glycoproteins and their role in virus assembly, virus entry and immune recognition as novel targets for antiviral treatment

Funding: BMBF

Period: 2016 - 2019

Project partner: Andreas Herrmann (HU, Coordinator), Detlev Krüger (Charité), Yechiel Shai (The Weizmann Institute of Science),  Felix Rey (Institut Pasteur/Structural Virology Unit) 

HantaHuntHantaviruses (HV), which belong to the Bunyaviridae family of RNA viruses, are emerging pathogens that cause life threatening human zoonoses with case fatalities reaching 50% and is ranked among the top five reportable virus infections by the Robert Koch-Institute in Berlin. In spite of their medical importance, our knowledge of HV biology is extremely fragmentary. This project focuses on HV envelope glycoproteins Gn and Gc, which form a heterodimer exposed at the virus surface, carrying the main viral antigenic determinants. Both are responsible for entry into host cells by recognizing a receptor at the plasma membrane and by catalyzing membrane fusion in the endosomes after receptor-mediated endocytosis. The heterodimer also plays a crucial role in the morphogenesis of newly formed HV via interaction of the cytosolic domains with the viral genomic RNA and by driving virion assembly and budding. This project is be tackled by a consortium of four complementary groups, combining experts in molecular virology, cell and structural biology, biochemistry and biophysics to provide an in-depth analysis of the glycoproteins and their crucial interactions with other cellular and viral factors including the segmented HV RNA genome.  In this context a multiude of state-of-the-art methods and techniques will be established and utilized. Our results will thereby characterize important potential interactions to be targeted for therapeutic intervention, e.g. the receptor site and the fusogenic conformational change of the Gn/Gc complex.


MAPTor-NET: MAPK-mTOR network model driven individualized therapies of pancreatic neuro-endocrine tumors

Homepage: MAPTor-NET

Funding: BMBF

Period: 2015 - 2018

Project partner: Christine Sers (Charité, Coordinator), Nils Blüthgen (Charité), , Marianne Pavel, (Charité), Katharina Detjen (Charité,) Ulf Leser (HU), Kathrin Thedieck (Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg)

MAPTor NETPancreatic NET (pNET) comprise the most prominent subgroup group of rare Neuroendocrine tumors (NET) with distinct prognostic classes, and thus diverse therapeutic regimens. Available pNET treatments include somatostatin analogs, systemic chemotherapy, and novel molecular drugs targeting receptor tyrosine kinases (Sunitinib), or the mTOR pathway (Everolimus). However, tumor heterogeneity results in an unpredictable response to the therapy, and only a limited number of patients profits from either treatment. To date, no method for diagnostic stratification of patients exists. The MAPTor-Net consortium suggests a focused systems medicine approach that uses clinical and pathological data together with mutation/expression profiles to individually preselect patients prior to therapy. The approach uses a combination of top-down modeling of the core pathways altered in pNET, and a bottom-up approach gathering and integrating individual molecular data.