Grosswendt header

Grosswendt Lab

From Cell States to Function

Profile

During embryonic development, gene expression changes and diversifies dynamically. However, such developmental programs also allow some tumors to evolve without a requirement for additional mutations. In fact, tumor cells from cancers such as neuroblastoma and melanoma are similar to cells normally only found during prenatal development. We aim to better understand how these embryonic gene expression profiles are shaped during normal development and why such similar states are observed in tumor cells. We have a particular interest in the biomedically relevant neural crest lineage of the developing embryo, which can give rise to tumors that exhibit substantial cellular heterogeneity and plasticity. Understanding how cells execute these embryonic programs will be invaluable for improving the detection of tumor cell heterogeneity and developing more effective treatments.

To uncover how embryonic gene expression programs are instructed, we need to consider the multicellular context in which they occur. In both normal embryonic tissues and tumors, cells physically interact and communicate with each other, which influences their gene activity and thus their function and responsiveness to different signals. Single-cell transcriptomics technologies have revealed an enormous variety of ‘cell states’ in which cells normally considered the same type exhibit marked differences in their transcriptional profile. To uncover which cell states influence each other, we are developing strategies to analyze cells within their tissue context and identify the communication events responsible for specific cellular decisions and behaviors. By expanding the potential of single-cell technologies, we are thus able to investigate the intimate relationship between cell identity and tissue organization.

The group is part of the joint 'Single Cell Approaches for Personalized Medicine' Research Focus Area of the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) at Charité and the Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC). Our lab is located at the Berlin Institute of Medical Systems Biology of the MDC, and we closely collaborate with the clinical Department of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology at the Charité.

Team

Grosswendt Lab: Tobias Christaller (left), Philipp Stachel-Braum (centered), Stefanie Grosswendt (right)

Group Leader 

Stefanie Grosswendt

101: Berlin Institute for Medical System Biology
Room: 5.42
stefanie.grosswendt@mdc-berlin.de
+49 30 94061427-1427

 

PhD students

Tobias Christaller

101: Berlin Institute of Medical Systems Biology
Room: 5.44-49
Tobias.Christaller@mdc-berlin.de
+49 30 9406-1417

Philipp Stachel-Braum

MDC-NYU Fellowship
101: Berlin Institute of Medical Systems Biology
Room: 5.44-49
Philipp.Stachel-Braum@mdc-berlin.de
+49 30 9406-1417

 

Lab Manager

Maria Will

101: Berlin Institute of Medical Systems Biology
Room: 5.44-49
Maria.Will@mdc-berlin.de
+49 30 9406-1595

 

Team Assistance

Juliane Großkopf
101: Berlin Institute of Medical Systems Biology
Room: 4.01
Juliane.Grosskopf@mdc-berlin.de
+49 30 9406-1452

Publications

News

Jobs

Hiring:

Candidates interested in postdoc or PhD positions please contact Stefanie Grosswendt. Please provide your CV including names of at least two referees, as well as a letter of motivation with your research interest. We especially encourage applications by computational scientists for PhD and Postdoc positions. Computational PhD candidates would be co-supervised by Laleh Haghverdi and can participate in the CompCancer program that our group is associated with.