Centre for Molecular Biology, Max Perutz Labs


  • Department of Chromosome Biology
    • Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Verena Jantsch-Plunger    

      Research Focus:
      Chromosomes are the biologically relevant form of organization of the genome in all known forms of life. Correct transmission of genetic and epigenetic information, genome stability and the production of germ cells during sexual reproduction are key topics in chromosome biology. These subtopics are medically relevant (cancer, ageing, development, fertility, gene therapy), but also have economic importance (breeding). In my group we increase our understanding how genomes are segregated into germ cells and how genome integrity is preserved during gametogenesis. In particular, we are interested in meiotic chromosome movements, nuclear envelope reorganisation during movements and recombination/ DNA repair. We use Caenorhabditis elegans as our model system and take advantage of a combination of genetic, biochemical and imaging approaches. The Jantsch lab is embedded in the vibrant campus of the Vienna Bio Center with excellent state-of-the-art facilities. Furthermore we are part of the Special Research Program “ Meiosis”, which comprises 9 groups conducting research on meiosis.   

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  • Department of Microbiology, Immunobiology and Genetics
    • Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Pavel Kovarik

      Research Focus:

      Our research aims at understanding of how immune homeostasis is maintained and how a robust but not exaggerated immune response is accomplished. Defense against infectious agents and damaging cues requires efficient activation of inflammatory response and timely re-establishment of immune homeostasis once the hostile microbial or sterile cues have been eliminated. Unproductive responses result in infectious disease whereas failures in homeostatic processes cause tissue damage and prevent healing. Thus, inflammatory response needs to be strong but quantitatively and timely restricted. Although many of the inflammation-promoting and –controlling processes are known, the basic question of how these processes are coordinated in the context of balanced tissue-protective immune responses remains poorly understood.
      We study the molecular wiring of robust yet controlled inflammation at the level of transcription, mRNA decay and signaling.

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    • Assoz. Prof. Dr. Florian Raible   

      Research Focus:
      Comparisons across animal groups suggests that stem-cell based regeneration – including regeneration of the central nervous system – is likely an ancestral feature, but has been secondarily lost in mammals and other taxa. Annelid worms have unique value for studying this process, as they are known to modulate regenerative capacity by virtue of brain-derived endocrine factors. Moreover, these brain-derived factors orchestrate various other developmental processes – ranging from bristle shapes to the trigger of reproductive maturation, and even the timing of death. Research into individual factors and their function therefore provides unique experimental and mechanistic access to fascinating and fundamental aspects of biology.
      Our group combines molecular profiling (RNAseq, proteomics), functional experimentation (knock-outs, transgenics), multimodal imaging, cellular profiling (scRNAseq approaches), physiological experiments, and behavioral analyses to advance research into the molecular orchestration of regeneration, reproduction and metamorphosis. Most of our work focuses on the marine bristleworm Platynereis dumerilii that we have helped to push as an experimental system, but we also follow comparative approaches to selected invertebrate groups (like sponges and cephalopods) and vertebrates. Our efforts in exploring the bristleworm as a unique system for stem cell biology are embedded in a larger Vienna-wide effort to address the molecular mechanisms of stem cell differentiation and regeneration, including other teams at the Perutz Labs, the Vienna BioCenter and the wider Vienna area.  

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    • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Kristin Tessmar-Raible

      Research Focus:
      Bridging from ecology to molecular biology: Biological Timers set by sun and moon.

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  • Structural and Computational Biology