Research Area: 1-Cell autonomous Control of homeostatic Mechanisms and cellular Stress Responses in Ageing and age-associated Diseases
Our team is interested in mitochondrial dynamics and quality control, which are critical during aging. Mitochondria are constantly remodeled by fusion and fission events, which are mediated by the dynamin-related proteins (DRP) mitofusins and DRP1, respectively. We found that ubiquitin is necessary to keep mitochondria and cells in a plastic and healthy state. Recently, we identified a novel and unsuspected form of ubiquitin, with a broad and unprecedented impact in all stress responses discovered so far. Now, we focus on how this regulates known but largely unexplored connectionsbetween mitochondria and theautophagic and endocytic pathways.
Our research intertwines mitochondria and ubiquitin: We are interested in several aspects of mitochondrial dynamics and quality-control processes, critical for aging processes, which are regulated by ubiquitin:
Several projects addressing the questions outlined before are possible and should be directly discussed, to find the best interest match between the PhD candidate and our group.
We use biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics and cellular biology, mainly in the model organism S. cerevisiae. To be able to transfer the relevance of our findings to disease states, we now developed new model systems of mitofusins, using human cell lines. We have several ongoing collaborations with research groups complementing our expertise. Moreover, aiming at a concrete possibility to provide therapies of disease-associated functions of mitofusins, we started joining forces with the clinicians.
Most important are scientific curiosity, motivation, flexibility, resilience and team work skills. Previous experience with yeast or cell culture is beneficial but not required.