Genes and Development

The research activities of the program are centered around three topics:

(1) The generation of cellular asymmetries that cause cell fate diversity in developing organisms: This topic focuses on molecular mechanisms that control cell polarity and lead to the asymmetric localization of RNAs and proteins, which are involved in cell fate specification.

(2) Protein and RNA modifications that function as molecular switches during development and in host pathogen interactions: This topic deals with modifications of proteins and RNAs, including phosphorylation, sumoylation, methylation and alternative splicing that alter the activities of these molecules in developmental processes.

(3) Identification of molecules that mediate the communication between two or more organisms: Research on this topic is mainly dedicated to the identification and functional characterization of molecules that are involved in host-pathogen interactions.

Since cutting-edge research requires highly sophisticated technologies such as advanced fluorescence microscopy, generation of transgenic organisms, expression profiling and proteomics, an intensive exchange between the graduate students and principal investigators in this program is essential for ensuring optimal progress in each research project.