Visual Condensates

Exploring liquid droplets that enhance gene expression

The Berlin Institute of Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) will host an international, virtual workshop about condensates and phase transitions on Nov. 27, 2020.

Leading researchers from Germany, the US, Denmark and Scotland will meet during the Condensates and Phase Transitions Workshop 2020, hosted by the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine and BIMSB, to discuss the latest advancements in the field of condensate biology, and what it means for gene regulation, cell identity and function, and potential for treatments of cancer and other diseases. More than 250 researchers are expected to attend the virtual workshop on Nov. 27.

In the biomolecular context, condensates are intra-cellular structures that are not demarcated by membranes, but aggregate high concentrations of RNA proteins involved in gene expression. Their importance in gene expression has come to the forefront only in the last few years, and might in fact play even more significant roles in how a cell is organized and functions, than is currently realized.

“I am looking forward to many insightful discussions within this young field,” says Professor Nikolaus Rajewsky, BIMSB Scientific Director, who will kick off the workshop at 3 p.m. CET with welcoming remarks.

Boosting the efficient transcription of genes

Professor Richard A. Young, who teaches biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is a researcher at the Whitehead Institute in the US, will be the keynote speaker at the workshop. Young and co-workers proposed a new model for gene expression around condensates acting as super-enhancers to boost efficient transcription of genes, and have described condensates as liquid droplets forming at important points along DNA.  

The workshop will also feature 20-minute talks from researchers investigating condensates and other physical factors influencing gene transcription, including:

Professor Ana Pombo, BIMSB Deputy Director, Epigenetic Regulation and Chromatin Architecture Lab, MDC

Professor Susanne Mandrup, Director, Center of Excellence in Functional Genomics and Tissue Plasticity, University of Southern Denmark

Professor Matthias Selbach, Proteome Dynamics Lab, MDC
Professor Frank Jülicher, Director, Max-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems

Professor Wendy Bickmore, MRC Human Genetics Unit, University of Edinburgh

Two rounds of discussion among participants will be led by Dr. Robert Patrick Zinzen, who leads MDC’s Systems Biology of Neural Tissue Differentiation Lab, and Dr. Darío Jesús Lupiáñez García, who leads MDC’s Epigenetics and Sex Development Lab.


Condensates and Phase Transitions Workshop 2020

November 27th, 2020; 3-7 p.m. CET

To register: