MDC Lab Coats

Research topics

Our research is focused on metabolic and reproductive processes and their genetic regulation. Transcriptional regulators are at the center of our investigations.

In particular, we have started to look how metabolic changes influence the epigenetic landscape by modulating the transcriptional responses to adapt to environmental conditions.

With a series of mouse models for human diseases that we created over the last years, we are now in a position to dissect even complicated physiological questions at the organismal level.


These are the fields we are currently working on:

Stem cells, transcription factors and epigenetic regulation



Epigenetic regulation of cell type determination

Stem/progenitor cell populations constitute the basic building units from which organs and whole organisms are created.

We identified the transcriptional regulator SALL4 as a key player that is required to maintain the pluripotency state of embryonic stem cells. SALL4 is highly expressed in the inner cell mass (ICM) of the blastocyst that gives rise to the embryo and the primitive endoderm.

We employ omics technologies to understand the regulation and function of this central player in stem cell biology. Using a biotin/streptavidin system we have unraveled the SALL4 protein complex and its protein interaction network in embryonic stem cells. In addition, we have identified the chromosomal localization pattern of these proteins by chromatin immunoprecipitation in combination with high-throughput parallel sequencing (ChIP-Seq).

Currently, we determine the epigenetic alterations that result from changes of these protein complex activities upon growth hormone factor signaling.

This work is part of the  Priority Program SPP1356 "Pluripotency and Cellular Reprogramming" of the German Research Foundation.