Developmental Cell Biology
Head: Dr. Christian Pohl
Autophagy is a fundamental…
We investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms of development in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Currently, we focus on three aspects: regulation and developmental functions of (1) cytokinesis and (2) autophagy, (3) morphogenesis of the C. elegans head.
We use a combination of transcriptomics, proteomics, conditional mutants, reverse genetics, time-lapse microscopy, laser-micromanipulation, and image analysis/bioinformatics to decompose complex processes into their cellular and molecular constituents.
Activities in the lab are part of and/or funded by: DFG EXC 115, DFG FOR 1756, LOEWE Ub-Net ('Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz'), Marie Curie Actions. Our group is part of GENiE (Group of C. elegans New Investigators in Europe, http://www.worm-genie.eu).
Figure: Time-lapse imaging of the first three rounds of division in early C. elegans embryonic development. Microtubules and non-muscle myosin II are shown in cyan, the plasma membrane and chromatin are shown in yellow.
Dr. Christian Pohl
Christian was born in Heidenheim/Brenz, Germany. He studied biochemistry at Eberhard-Karls-University, Tübingen, and at Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, obtaining his diploma in 2003. He then joined Stefan Jentsch's department of Molecular Cell Biology at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, as a PhD student. He graduated summa cum laude in 2008 with a dissertation on the regulation of cytokinesis in mammalian cells. With a Human Frontier Science Program's post-doctoral fellowship he started pursuing quantitative developmental biology in the laboratory of Zhirong Bao at the Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York. Here, he discovered mechanisms of axial patterning and gastrulation in the invertebrate model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. Since his recruitment as an IBC2/Buchmann Institute junior group leader in 2011, research in his lab aims at deciphering molecular mechanisms of cell division, morphogenesis and organismal stress response.
Priyanka studied biotechnology at the National Institute of Technology in Warangal, India, and obtained a masters degree in biological sciences and bioengineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, in 2013. For her masters thesis, she worked on C. elegans germline development in the lab of Kuppuswamy Subramaniam. In this work, she identified a novel positive regulator of RAS/MAPK signaling important for proper meiotic progression and oogenesis in C. elegans hermaphrodites. At BMLS, Priyanka works on post-translational mechanisms that regulate transcription factor degradation and on Calcium-dependent mechanisms of morphogenesis.
Christina studied biology at Goethe University Frankfurt and obtained a master's degree in Cell Biology and Physiology in 2012. For her master thesis, she worked in the lab of Enrico Schleiff on the role of β-barrel proteins in secretion using Anabaena as a model system. Christina investigates morphogenetic mechanisms of head organ formation. Her work includes a collaboration with Ernst Stelzer's group on light sheet microscopy to perform lineage tracing and cell shape segmentation in late stages of C. elegans embryonic development.
Devang studied bioinformatics at the Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar, India, and obtained a master's degree in bioinformatics from the Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, India in 2011. His master thesis under the supervision of Shankaracharya yielded several publications on Diabetes diagnosis and prediction as well as protein evolution (see below). Devang's project involves programming and implementing image and data analysis tools to quantitatively describe head development in C. elegans as a multi-layered system comprising genetic regulation, the cellular network, as well as cytoskeletal dynamics with the future goal to perform modeling of organogenesis. Moreover, Devang is also interested in segmentation and 3D-tracking of cells and organelles.
Deepika studied biotechnology, first at Amity University, Noida, India, and later at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, India, from which she was awarded a master's degree in technology in 2012. For her master thesis project she obtained a DAAD IIT Master's Sandwich Program fellowship and worked with Christian Bökel at the Center for Regenerative Therapies, Dresden, on BMP signalling in the Drosophila ovary stem cell niche. Deepika currently investigates mechanisms of midbody formation and internalization in the early C. elegans embryo using genetics, microscopy and laser microsurgery.