SignGene group photo 2017

SignGene – German-Israeli Helmholtz Research School

Frontiers in Cell Signaling and Gene Regulation


Launched in 2013, SignGene is an international exchange program for PhD students in biomedical sciences.

All students work on collaborative research projects jointly supervised by the principle investigator at their home institute and a partnering group leader from abroad. The main location of a student is defined by the main supervisor's affiliation. As an essential part of the training, SignGene students spend around 6 months of their PhD in the partnering co-mentor's lab in the other country.

PhD Program

The SignGene program builds on exceptional network of distinguished scientists from Berlin in Germany and Haifa and Jerusalem in Israel.

We offer a unique 3-year doctoral training program in the fields of cell signaling, gene regulation, and quantitative biology. Our research approaches range from basic molecular and cellular biology, proteomics and transcriptomics, to structural biology, biophysics, and bioengineering.

Scientific training

The core of your education is an exciting thesis research project in the laboratory of one of our outstanding faculty members at top research institutions in Germany and Israel. Depending on the affiliation of your main thesis supervisor, your home institute will be in Berlin, Haifa, or Jerusalem. Each thesis project is designed as a bilateral collaboration between your main supervisor and a co-mentor abroad, allowing you to draw from the scientific expertise of two laboratories. At the same time, you will gain experience in carrying out international scientific collaborations and acquire intercultural skills.

Upon admission to SignGene, you will enroll as a doctoral student at your home institute (MDC and Charité students enroll at HU or FU Berlin), which will be the degree awarding organization (Dr. rer. nat. in Germany, PhD in Israel). Following the training guidelines of your home institute, you will participate in local courses, which will account for the majority of your scientific training recognized by SignGene.

On top of this, SignGene offers a number of training and networking opportunities within our unique German-Israeli scientific community:

  • Dual mentoring, supported by regular thesis committee meetings
  • Fully supported prolonged exchange stays to research and study in the partner laboratory abroad (6 months cumulative during your PhD)
  • Annual scientific symposia and annual thematic schools/workshops with external speakers, these events alternate between Germany and Israel
  • Proteomics Course by Gunnar Dittmar: This is an annual specialized methods course locally organized at the Technion and the MDC
  • Annual PhD retreats for scientific exchange with your peers in an informal setting
  • Every student receives travel grants to support attendance of international methods courses and scientific conferences

Personal development

To complement the scientific training, SingGene offers a comprehensive transferable skills program to help you build your own career as an independent scientist. Organized by the Helmholtz Association and conducted by trainers from the Imperial College London, UK, these courses are tailored to the needs of students at distinct stages during their graduate work.

1st year - Research skills development

This course covers topics such as working in a team of international scientists, networking and communication skills, personal effectiveness and time management.

2nd year - Presentation and communication skills

During this course, you will learn how to communicate your science effectively: How to write an abstract or scientific paper, how to present complex scientific topics to an audience in a poster or talk.

3rd year - Career and leadership

This course prepares you for advancing your career to the next level. Topics such as career planning and development, and your personal style of leadership are covered.


Our faculty consists of a group of outstanding scientists from Berlin (MDC, Humboldt Universität (HU) and the Charité-Universitätsmedizin), Haifa (Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, TEC), and Jerusalem (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, HUJI), whose research falls into the three main areas Cell Signaling, Gene Regulation, and Quantitative Biology.


Prof. Dr. Claus Scheidereit
Signal Transduction in Tumor Cells

Prof. Amit Meller, PhD
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Prof. Yinon Ben-Neriah, MD, PhD
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Professor of Basic Cancer Research; Head of the Proteomics and Drug Design Program

Cell Signaling

Photo: Juliane Brümmer (Rocks Lab), MDC

To ensure the proper development and function of an organism, individual cells need to respond to changes in their environment, and to fulfill the demands of the tissue in which they operate. A number of SignGene laboratories are focusing their research on the signaling pathways regulating these processes. This includes the investigation of genes and signaling pathways that are key to development, normal physiological functions, and processes such as inflammation and cancerogenesis. The research is performed at several levels, from receptors at the cell surface to intracellular signaling pathways in the cytosol and the nucleus.

Yinon Ben-Neriah, HUJI - Immunology and Cancer Research

Walter Birchmeier, MDC - Signal Transduction, Invasion and Metastasis of Epithelial Cells

Aaron Ciechanover, TEC - Protein Turnover

Gunnar Dittmar, MDC - Mass Spectrometry

Bernd Doerken, MDC and Charité - Haematology, Oncology and Tumorimmunology

Yaron Fuchs, TEC - Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Michael Glickman, TEC - Biochemical and Genetic Analysis of Proteasome Function

Gera Neufeld, TEC - Angiogenesis

Oliver Rocks, MDC - Spatio-Temporal Control of Rho GTPase Signaling

Clemens Schmitt, MDC and Charité - Cancer Genetics and Cellular Stress Response

Thomas Sommer, MDC - Intracellular Proteolysis

Ulrike Stein, MDC - Translational Oncology of Solid Tumors

Israel Vlodavsky, TEC - Cell Biology and Experimental Oncology

Gene Regulation

Author: Claus Scheidereit, MDC

The identity and function of a cell is ultimately determined by its global gene expression pattern. Several SignGene groups focus on elucidating the fundamental molecular principles of gene regulation from the single gene level to global genetics networks. This research spans a variety of themes, including epigenetics, chromosomal structure dynamics, and genomic instability, as well as the occurrence of gene mutations leading to cancer and other diseases. Further molecular principles concern the function of protein ubiquitylation or SUMOylation in multiple pathways, including those controlling inflammation, neurodegeneration, or cancer.

Yehudit Bergman, HUJI - Developmental Biology and Cancer Research

Howard Cedar, HUJI - DNA Methylation

Nir Friedman, HUJI - Chromatin and Transcriptional Regulation, Computational Systems Biology

Sebastian Kadener, HUJI - Molecular Neurobiology and RNA Metabolism

Batsheva Kerem, HUJI - Human Genetics

Achim Leutz, MDC - Cell Differentiation and Tumorigenesis

Koby Nahmias, HUJI - Microliver Technologies

Amir Orian, TEC - Genetic Networks in Development and Cancer

Klaus Rajewsky, MDC - Immune Regulation and Cancer

Nikolaus Rajewsky, MDC - Systems Biology of Gene Regulatory Elements

Ze'ev Ronai, TEC - Signal Transduction, Tumor Initiation and Maintenance

Claus Scheidereit, MDC - Signal Transduction in Tumor Cells

Quantitative Biology

Photo: Anja Schuetz (Heinemann Lab), MDC

The development of major technologies in recent years has enabled direct manipulation and probing of biological processes at the single-molecule and single-cell levels. These approaches probe the physical properties of diverse biological systems, resonating from the determination of the rate and fate of chemical reactions all the way up to the regulation of gene expression and cell differentiation. Researchers within this area combine experimental biological approaches with mathematical modeling and bioinformatic tools to elucidate gene regulatory and cell signaling modules networks.

Nathalie Balaban, HUJI - Biological Biophysics

Oliver Daumke, MDC - Structure and Membrane Interaction of G-Proteins

Udo Heinemann, MDC - Macromolecular Structure and Interaction

Andreas Herrmann, HU - Molecular Biophysics

Stefan Kempa, MDC - Integrative Proteomics and Metabolomics Platform

Edda Klipp, HU - Theoretical Biophysics

Alexander Löwer, MDC and TU Darmstadt - Signaling Dynamics in Single Cells

Yael Mandel-Gutfreund, TEC - Computational Molecular Biology

Amit Meller, TEC - Single Molecule Biophysics and Nano-biotechnology

Matthias Selbach, MDC - Cell Signaling and Mass Spectrometry

Jana Wolf, MDC - Mathematical Modelling of Cellular Processes

Assaf Zemel, HUJI - Theoretical Biophysics


Harald Saumweber, HU - Cytogenetics


Class of 2018

David Gomes

    Elucidation of CTCF-mediated spatial chromatin organization on IgK repertoire and asynchronous replication

    • Lab of Yehudit Bergman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    • Co-mentor: Klaus Rajewsky, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine

    Stefania Tocci

    New insights for the role of Sharpin in cancer

    • Lab of Ze'ev Ronai, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
    • Co-mentor: Claus Scheidereit, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine


    Class of 2017

    Elle Koren 

    The Role of Sept4/ARTS in Intestinal Regeneration and Tumorigenesis

    • Lab of Yaron Fuch, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
    • Co-mentor: Walter Birchmeier, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine


    • Yosefzon Y, Soteriou D, Feldman A, Kostic A, Koren E, Ankawa R, Brown S, Sedov E, Glaser F, Fuchs Y. Caspase-3 regulates YAP-dependent organ size and Skin Regeneration (2018). Molecular Cell 70, 573–587.
    • Koren E. and Fuchs Y. The bad seed: cancer stem cells in tumor development and resistance (2016). Drug Resistance Updates 28, 1-12.

    Cristina Brischetto

     Regulation of autophagy by IKK/NFκB signalling pathway after DNA damage 

    • Lab of Claus Scheidereit, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine
    • Co-mentor: Yinon Ben-Neriah, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

    Patrick Mucka

    Mechanisms of posttranscriptional gene regulation by IkB kinases

    • Lab of Claus Scheidereit, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine
    • Co-Mentor: Ze'ev Ronai, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

    Hazel Quinn

    The Role of Sonic-Hedgehog in the Development of Wnt-Met Driven Basal-Like Breast Cancer

    • Lab of Walter Birchmeier, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine
    • Co-mentor: Yaron Fuchs, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology


    Class of 2016

    Alba Ferri Blázquez

    Molecular analysis of Ubiquitin modifications on Serine/Threonine residues

    • Lab of Thomas Sommer, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine
    • Co-mentors: Michael Glickman & Aaron Ciechanover, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

    Eric Hung

    CKI as a therapy target in the haematopoiesis malignancies

    • Lab of Yinon Ben-Neriah, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    • Co-mentors: Klaus Rajewsky, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine & Clemens Schmitt, Charité Universitätsmedizin


    Class of 2015

    Alon Appleboim

    A systematic approach to RNA effects on cellular localization

    • Lab of Nir Friedman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    • Co-mentor: Nikolaus Rajewsky, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine


    • Ichikawa Y, Connelly CF, Appleboim A, Miller TC, Jacobi H, Abshiru NA, Chou HJ, Chen Y, Sharma U, Zheng Y, Thomas PM, Chen HV, Bajaj V, Müller CW, Kelleher NL, Friedman N, Bolon DN, Rando OJ, Kaufman PD (2017). A synthetic biology approach to probing nucleosome symmetry. eLife 6.
    • Weiner A, Hsieh TH, Appleboim A, Chen HV, Rahat A, Amit I, Rando OJ, Friedman N (2015). High-resolution chromatin dynamics during a yeast stress response. Mol. Cell 58, 1-16
    • Geffen Y, Appleboim A, Gardner RG, Friedman N, Sadeh R, Ravid T. Mapping the Landscape of a Eukaryotic Degronome (2016). Mol. Cell 63(6), 1055-65

    Nagarjuna Reddy Pamudurti

    Biogenesis and function of circRNAs in Drosophila

    • Lab of Sebastian Kadener, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    • Co-mentor: Nikolaus Rajewsky, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine


    • Pamudurti NR, Bartok O, Jens M, Ashwal-Fluss R, Stottmeister C, Ruhe L, Hanan M, Wyler E, Perez-Hernandez D, Ramberger E, Shenzis S, Samson M, Dittmar G, Landthaler M, Chekulaeva M, Rajewsky N, Kadener S (2017); Translation of CircRNAs. Mol Cell 66(1):9-21.e7.
    • Ashwal-Fluss R*, Meyer M*, Pamudurti NR*, Ivanov A, Bartok O, Hanan M, Evantal N, Memczak S, Rajewsky N, Kadener S (2014). circRNA biogenesis competes with pre-mRNA splicing. Mol. Cell 46, 55-56 | *equal contribution
    • Pamudurti NR*, Bartok O*, Jens M*, Ashwal-Fluss R*, Stottmeister C, Ruhe L, Hanan M, Wyler E, Perez-Hernandez D, Ramberger E, Shenzis S, Samson M, Dittmar G, Landthaler M, Chekulaeva M, Rajewsky N, Kadener S (2017). Translation of CircRNAs. Mol. Cell 66(1), 9-21 | *equal contribution

    Yana Rozevsky

    Single-molecule quantification of the cancer biomarkers KRAS, MACC1 and S100A4 using solid-state nanopores

    • Lab of Amit Meller, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
    • Co-mentor: Ulrike Stein, Charité - Universitätsmedizin / Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine


    Class of 2014

    Dhana Friedrich

    Oscillatory transcription factors and stochastic gene expression

    • Lab of Alexander Loewer, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine
    • Co-mentor: Amit Meller, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

    Christian Lips

    Characterization of membrane-associated ubiquitin ligases 

    • Lab of Thomas Sommer, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine
    • Co-mentors: Michael Glickman/Aaron Ciechanover, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology


    • Haralampiev I, Schade M, Chamiolo J, Jolmes F, Prisner S, Witkowski PT, Behrent M, Hövelmann F, Wolff T, Seitz O, Herrmann A (2017). A Fluorescent RNA Forced-Intercalation Probe as a Pan-Selective Marker for Influenza A Virus Infection. Chembiochem 18(16):1589-1592.

    Christin Suenkel (geb. Stottmeister)

    Exploring circRNA functions in Neuronal Differentiation and Disease

    • Lab of Nikolaus Rajewsky, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine
    • Co-mentor: Sebastian Kadener, Hebrew University of Jerusalem


    • Pamudurti NR, Bartok O, Jens M, Ashwal-Fluss R, Stottmeister C, Ruhe L, Hanan M, Wyler E, Perez-Hernandez D, Ramberger E, Shenzis S, Samson M, Dittmar G, Landthaler M, Chekulaeva M, Rajewsky N, Kadener S (2017); Translation of CircRNAs. Mol Cell 66(1):9-21.e7.
    • Rybak-Wolf, A*, Stottmeister, C*, Glažar, P*, Jens, M, Pino, N, Giusti, S, Hanan, M, Behm, M, Bartok,  O, Ashwal-Fluss, R, ..., Kadener S, Rajewsky, N (2015). Circular RNAs in the Mammalian Brain Are Highly Abundant, Conserved, and Dynamically Expressed. Mol. Cell 1–16. | *equal contribution


    Class of 2013

    Dámaris Anell Rendon

    Proteotoxicity in therapy-induced senescence

    • Lab of Clemens Schmitt, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine / Charité Virchow Klinikum MKFZ
    • Co-mentor: Michael Glickman, Technion - Israel Institute of Technolog


    • Bouzas-Rodríguez J, Zárraga-Granados G, Sánchez-Carbente MdR, Rodríguez-Valentín R, Gracida X, Anell-Rendón D, Covarrubias L, Castro-Obregón S (2012). The nuclear receptor NR4A1 induces a form of cell death dependent on autophagy in mammalian cells. PLoS ONE 7(10), e46422




    Waleed Minzel

    Regulation of quiescence entry and exit of hematopoietic stem cells

    • Lab of Yinon Ben-Neriah, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    • Co-mentor: Clemens Schmitt, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin


    • Minzel W, Venkatachalam A, Fink A, Hung E, Brachya G, Burstain I, Shaham M, Rivlin A, Omer I, Zinger A, Elias S, Winter E, Erdman PE, Sullivan RW, Fung L, Mercurio F, Li D, Vacca J, Kaushansky N, Shlush L, Oren M, Levine R, Pikarsky E, Snir-Alkalay I, Ben-Neriah Y (2018). Small Molecules Co-targeting CKIα and the Transcriptional Kinases CDK7/9 Control AML in Preclinical Models. Cell. 2018 [ahead of print]
    • Haddad A, Flint-Ashtamker G, Minzel W, Sood R, Rimon G, Barki-Harrington L (2012). Prostaglandin EP1 receptor down-regulates expression of cyclooxygenase-2 by facilitating its proteasomal degradation. J. Biol. Chem. 287(21), 17214-17223
    • Sood R, Minzel W, Rimon G, Tal S, Barki-Harrington L (2014). Down-regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 by the carboxyl tail of the angiotensin II type 1 receptor. J. Biol. Chem. 289(45), 31473-31479

    Upasana Das Adhikari

    p53 control of intestinal stem cell fate

    • Lab of Yinon Ben-Neriah, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    • Co-mentors: Walter Birchmeier and Alexander Loewer, Max elbrück Center for Molecular Medicine


    • Morgenstern Y*, Das Adhikari U*, Ayyash M, Elyada E, Tóth B, Moor A, Itzkovitz S, Ben-Neriah Y (2017). Casein kinase 1-epsilon or 1-delta required for Wnt-mediated intestinal stem cell maintenance. EMBO J. 36(20):3046-306. | *equal contribution

    Simon Prisner

    Molecular mechanisms of viral infection

    •  Lab of Andreas Herrmann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
    • Co-mentor: Amit Meller, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology


    • Jin S, Kedia N, Illes-Toth E, Haralampiev I, Prisner S, Herrmann A, Wanker EE, Bieschke J (2016). Amyloid-β(1-42) Aggregation Initiates Its Cellular Uptake and Cytotoxicity. J Biol Chem. 291(37), 19590-606 

    Jane Joy Thomas

    Role of RNF4 in oncogene activation

    • Lab of Amir Orian, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
    • Co-mentor: Walter Birchmeier, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine


    • Thomas JJ, Rekha Chandra MR, Sharma P (2010). Dextran glycidyltrimethylammonium chloride conjugate/DNA nanoplex: A potential non-viral and haemocompatible gene delivery system. Int. Journal of Pharmaceutics 389(1-2), 195-206
    • Thomas JJ, Rekha Chandra MR, Sharma P (2010). Unraveling the intracellular efficacy of Dextran-Histidine Polycation as an efficient non-viral gene delivery system. Mol. Pharmaceutics (ACS) 9(1), 121-134
    • Thomas JJ, Rekha Chandra MR, Sharma P (2012). Dextran-protamine polycation: An efficient nonviral and haemocompatible gene delivery system. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biosurfaces 81(1), 195-205
    • Thomas JJ, Abed M, Heuberger J, Novak R, Zohar Y, Beltran Lopez AP, Trausch-Azar JS, Ilagan MX, Benhamou D, Dittmar G, Kopan R, Birchmeier W, Schwartz AL, Orian A (2016). RNF4-Dependent Oncogene Activation by Protein Stabilization. Cell Rep. 16(12), 3388-400

    Naama Flint Brodsly

    Elucidating a genetic network that maintains the differentiated identity of enterocytes and gut homeostasis

    • Lab of Amir Orian, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
    • Co-mentor: Walter Birchmeier, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine

    Inbal Ipenberg

    Mechanisms of signal-dependent activation of NF-kappaB precursor complexes

    • Lab of Claus Scheidereit, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine
    • Co-mentor: Aaron Ciechanover, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology


    • Ipenberg I, Guttmann-Raviv N, Khoury HP, Kupershmit I, Ayoub N (2013). Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) selectively regulates the stability of KDM4B/JMJD2B histone demethylase. J. Biol. Chem. 288(21), 14681-14687
    • Yilmaz ZB, Kofahl B, Beaudette P, Baum K, Ipenberg I, Weih F, Wolf J, Dittmar G, Scheidereit C (2014). Quantitative dissection and modeling of the NF-kB p100-p105 module reveals interdependent precursor proteolysis. Cell Reports 9(5), 1756-1769
    • Khoury-Haddad H, Guttmann-Raviv N, Ipenberg I, Huggins D, Jeyasekharan AD, Ayoub N (2014). PARP1-dependent recruitment of KDM4D histone demethylase to DNA damage sites promotes double-strand break repair. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A 111(7), E728-737

    Juliane Rademacher (geb. Brümmer)

    Rho GTPase signaling downstream of guidance receptors

    • Lab of Oliver Rocks, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine
    • Co-mentor: Gera Neufeld, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

    Undine Hill

    Epigenetic functions of the transcription factor CEBP/alpha

    • Lab of Achim Leutz, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine
    • Co-mentor: Amir Orian, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology


    • Bledau AD, Schmidt K, Neumann K, Hill U, Ciotta G, Gupta A, Torres DC, Fu J, Kranz A, Stewart AF, Anastassiadis K (2014). The H3K4 methyltransferase Setd1a is first required at the epiblast stage, whereas Setd1b becomes essential after gastrulation. Development 141(5), 1022-1035

    Shari Orlanski

    • Lab of Yehudit Bergman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    • Co-mentors: Klaus Rajewsky and Martin Janz, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine


    • Penaloza C, Orlanski S, Ye Y, Entezari-Zaher T, Javdan M, Zakeri Z (2008). Cell death in mammalian development. Curr. Pharm. Des. 14(2), 184-196
    • Penaloza C, Estevez B, Orlanski S, Sikorska M, Walker R, Smith C, Smith B, Lockshin RA, Zakeri Z (2009). Sex of the cell dictates its response: differential gene expression and sensitivity to cell death inducing stress in male and female cells. FASEB J 23(6), 1869-1879
    • Orlanski S, Bergman Y (2012). Chapter 12: MicroRNAs in embryonic stem cells. In Appasani K (Ed.), Epigenomics: From chromatin biology to therapeutics (pp 163-178) Gene Expression Systems, Inc. ISBN: 9781139533997
    • Ludwig G, Nejman D, Hecht M, Orlanski S, Abu-Remaileh M, Yanuka O, Sandler O, Marx A, Roberts D, Benvenisty N, Bergman Y, Mendelsohn M, Cedar H (2014). Aberrant DNA methylation in ES cells. PloS One 9(5), e96090
    • Popowski M, Templeton TD, Lee BK, Rhee C, Li H, Miner C, Dekker JD, Orlanski S, Bergman Y, Iyer VR, Webb CF, Tucker H (2014). Bright/Arid3A acts as a barrier to somatic cell reprogramming through direct regulation of Oct4, Sox2, and Nanog. Stem Cell Reports 2(1), 26-35
    • Orlanski S, Labi V, Reizel Y, Spiro A, Lichtenstein M, Levin-Klein R, Koralov SB, Skversky Y, Rajewsky K, Cedar H, Bergman Y (2016). Tissue-specific DNA demethylation is required for proper B-cell differentiation and function. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113(18), 5018-23

    Sylvia Zérath Gurevich

    Biology and proteomics of the small protein modifier, Rub1

    • Lab of Michael Glickman, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
    • Co-mentors: Gunnar Dittmar and Thomas Sommer, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine


    • Singh RK, Zérath S, Kleifeld O, Scheffner M, Glickman MH, Fushman D (2012). Recognition and cleavage of related to ubiquitin (Rub1) and Rub1-ubiquitin chains by components of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Mol. Cell. Proteomics 11(12), 1595-1611

      Scientific Events

      As a central component of the training program, SignGene organizes scientific events that bring together members of the SignGene program, as well as internationally recognized guest speakers from all over the world. These events aim to expose our students to high-level scientific presentations and discussions with experts in their field of research, and foster the exchange within our community.

      The meeting venues alternate between Germany and Israel, so as to allow students and faculty alike to visit all partner institutions regularly and to learn more about the other country's scientific community and culture. SignGene events are open to a limited number of external graduate students and postdocs from our partner institutions, but also from all over Germany and Israel. 

      Each year, SignGene organizes intensive, 3-day workshops dedicated to a specific topic within the scientific scope of the program. These workshops are key to the scientific training within SignGene and are open to a limited number of external graduate students and postdocs. In addition to experts from the SignGene faculty, the workshops feature lectures by internationally distinguished invited speakers.

      SignGene Symposium in Neuruppin, Sep 2019 

      "Immunotherapy of Cancer"


      September 19 to 22, 2019  


      Resort Mark Brandenburg, Neuruppin, Germany

      Confirmed Speakers include: 

      • Cyrille Cohen (Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel)
      • Phil Greenberg (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, USA)
      • Thorbarld van Hall (Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands) 
      • Leo Hansmann (Charité, Berlin, Germany)
      • John Haanen (Netherlands Cancer Institute, Netherlands)
      • Eric Hung (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
      • Matthias Leisegang (Charité, Berlin, Germany)
      • Michal Lotem (Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel)
      • Ofer Mandelboim (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
      • Yifat Merbl (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel)
      • Klaus Rajewsky (MDC, Berlin, Germany)
      • Isabelle Rivière (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA)
      • Cliona Rooney (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, USA)
      • Ze'ev Ronai (SBP Medical Discovery Institute, La Jolla, USA)
      • Kathrin de la Rosa (MDC, Berlin, Germany)
      • Michel Sadelain (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA)
      • Andrea Schietinger (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA)
      • Clemens Schmitt (Kepler Universitätsklinikum, Linz, Austria)
      • Hans Schreiber (University of Chicago, USA)
      • Shabnam Shalapour (University of California San Diego, USA)

      Organizing Committee

      Thomas Blankenstein (MDC Berlin)
      Yinon Ben-Neriah (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)  
      Hanna Singer (MDC Berlin) 


      Dr. Hanna Singer

      Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine 
      Robert-Roessle-Str. 10
      13125 Berlin

      Tel.: +49 (0)30 9406 4205
      Fax: +49 (0)30 9406 2170


      Registration is open until July 12.

      The number of participants is limited. Priority is given to members of the SignGene program.

      SignGene PhD Retreat & Winter School in Nahsholim, Mar 2019

      "From Macro to Micro – Technology and Disease"


      • PhD Retreat: March 23 to 25, 2019
      • Winter School: March 26 to 28, 2019


      Sea Side Resort, Nahsholim, Israel


      • Alon Appleboim (Hebrew University Jerusalem, Israel)
      • Axel Behrens (The Francis Crick Institute, London, UK)
      • ​​​Carrie Bernecky (Institute of Science and Technology Austria)
      • Cristina Brischetto (MDC, Berlin, Germany)
      • Gunnar Dittmar (Luxembourg Institute of Health, Luxembourg)
      • ​​​​Marc Erhardt (Humboldt University Berlin, Germany)
      • Gaetano Gargiulo (MDC, Berlin, Germany)
      • Michael Glickman (Technion, Haifa, Israel)
      • Martin Jechlinger (EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany & EMBL, Rome, Italy) 
      • Elle Koren (Yaron Fuchs, Technion, Haifa, Israel)
      • Sarah Miller (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA)
      • Yaakov Nahmias (Hebrew University Jerusalem, Israel)
      • Suphansa Sawamiphak (MDC, Berlin, Germany)
      • Thomas Sommer (MDC & Humboldt University Berlin, Germany)   
      • Stefania Tocci (Technion, Haifa, Israel & Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, La Jolla, USA)
      • Darjus Tschaharganeh (DKFZ, Heidelberg, Germany)

      Organizing Committee

      Cristina Brischetto (MDC Berlin)
      Waleed Minzel(Hebrew University of Jerusalem)  
      Hanna Singer (MDC Berlin) 

      SignGene Symposium in Heringsdorf, Sep 2018  

      "Cell Motility and Metastasis" 


      September 3 to 5, 2018


      Travel Charme Strandidyll Heringsdorf
      Delbrückstraße 10
      17424 Heringsdorf/Usedom, Germany

      Confirmed Speakers: 

      • Heike Allgayer (Medical Faculty Mannheim Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany) 
      • Yinon Ben-Neriah (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) 
      • Walter Birchmeier (Max Delbrück Center, Berlin, Germany)      
      • Peter Friedl (University of Texas MD Anderson Center, Houston, TX, USA & Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands) 
      • Roger Gomis (Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Barcelona, Spain) 
      • Julian Heuberger (Max Delbrück Center, Berlin, Germany)      
      • Waleed Minzel (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)  
      • Hazel Quinn (Max Delbrück Center, Berlin, Germany)      
      • Klaus Rajewsky (Max Delbrück Center, Berlin, Germany)  
      • Ze'ev Ronai (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel & Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA) 
      • Clemens Schmitt (Charité Universitätsmedizin & Max Delbrück Center, Berlin, Germany) 
      • Robert Shoemaker (National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA) 
      • Ulrike Stein (Max Delbrück Center, Berlin, Germany)      
      • Andreas Trumpp (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Heidelberg, Germany)
      • Eldad Tzahor (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel) 
      • Jing Yang (University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA) 
      • Karina Yaniv (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel) 

      Organizing Committee

      Ulrike Stein (MDC Berlin)
      Amit Meller (Technion Haifa) 
      Hazel Quinn (MDC Berlin) 
      Sandra Krull (MDC Berlin) 
      Hanna Singer (MDC Berlin) 


      SignGene PhD Retreat & Winter School in Nof Ginosar, Mar 2018

      "Gene Regulation, Chromatin and Transcription"


      • PhD Retreat: March 24 to 25, 2018
      • Winter School: March 26 to 28, 2018


      Nof Ginosar Hotel at the Sea of Galilee, Israel

      Confirmed Speakers:


      SignGene Symposium in Neuruppin, Sep 2017

      Ubiquitin: One Traveler, Two Roads – Ubiquitin in Protein Homeostasis and Autophagy

      SignGene Winter School in Eilat, Mar 2017

      Cellular Biology Through the Proteome and Single Cell Methods

      March 05 to 08, 2017


      • Marina Chekulaeva (MDC Berlin, Germany)        
      • Miguel Frada (IUI, Eilat, Israel)        
      • Tamar Geiger (Tel Aviv University, Israel)        
      • Michael Glickman (Technion, Haifa, Israel)        
      • Helena Jambor (MPI-CBG Dresden, Germany)    
      • Oded Kleifeld (Technion, Haifa, Israel)    
      • Ron Kopito (Stanford University, CA, USA)        
      • Dara Leto (Stanford University, CA, USA)
      • Kathryn Miller-Jensen (Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA)        
      • Florian Stengel (University of Constance, Germany)        
      • Jared Toettcher (Princeton University, NJ, USA)   

      Read Helena Jambor's blog post on the conference here!

      Organizing Committee

      Alon Appleboim (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
      Dhana Friedrich (Humboldt University Berlin)
      Sandra Krull (MDC Berlin)
      Ronit Moshel (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)


      Dámaris Anell Rendón (Charité Berlin)
      Alon Appleboim (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
      Upasana Das Adhikari (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
      Naama Flint Brodsly (Technion Haifa)
      Dhana Friedrich (Humboldt University Berlin)
      Inbal Ipenberg (MDC Berlin)
      Christian Lips (MDC Berlin)
      Nagarjuna R. Pamudurti (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
      Simon N. Prisner (Humboldt University Berlin)
      Christin Stottmeister (MDC Berlin)

      SignGene Symposium September in Potsdam, Sep 2016


      The SignGene Symposium 2016 in Potsdam will consider recent progress in the understanding of regulatory processes in gene expression and proteostasis control with primary relevance to cancer.

      The Symposium brings together invited speakers from Europe, Israel and the USA, as well as SignGene students and investigators, who will present novel cutting edge results and innovative experimental and computational approaches.


      • Yehudit Bergman Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
      • Walter Birchmeier MDC Berlin, Germany
      • Nir Friedman Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
      • Michael Glickman Technion, Haifa, Israel
      • Undine Hill, MDC Berlin, Germany
      • Bo Hu, MDC Berlin, Germany
      • Jan Philipp Junker MDC Berlin, Germany
      • Michael Karin UC San Diego, CA, USA
      • Edda Klipp Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
      • Frank Lyko DKFZ, Heidelberg, Germany
      • Ulrike Münzner Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
      • Kees Murre UC San Diego, CA, USA
      • Gioacchino Natoli IFOM-IEO, Milan, Italy
      • Ana Pombo MDC & HU Berlin, Germany
      • Ze'ev Ronai Technion, Haifa, Israel & La Jolla, CA, USA
      • Claus Scheidereit MDC Berlin, Germany
      • Thomas Sommer MDC & HU Berlin, Germany
      • Erwin Wagner CNIO Madrid, Spain

      Organizing Committee

      Yehudit Bergman (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
      Claus Scheidereit (MDC Berlin)
      Sandra Krull (MDC Berlin)



      SignGene Winter School in Haifa, Feb 14 – 17, 2016

      High Precision, High Throughput: Biochemistry, Sequencing, and Imaging

      At the student-organized SignGene Winter School in Haifa, invited speakers join the SignGene faculty and students in a series of talks and workshops.

      The focus of this Winter School lies on the scientific and technical aspects of I) Single Molecule and Quantitative Imaging approaches, II) High-Throughput Sequencing (RNA-Seq, CHIP-Seq), and III) Methods in Protein Biochemistry and Proteomics.


      SignGene Symposium 2015 Berlin

      Singles in Biology: Proteins, Cells and Stem Cells

      At this year's SignGene Meeting near Berlin, SignGene faculty and students join internationally renowned guest speakers to discuss scientific topics in cell and molecular biology.

      A focus point of this Symposium will be the analysis of chromatin and protein dynamics, as well as cell signaling pathways on the single-cell level.


      Organizing Committee

      Yinon Ben-Neriah (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
      Matthias Selbach (MDC Berlin)
      Inbal Ipenberg (MDC Berlin)
      Upasana Das Adhikari (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) 
      Sandra Krull (MDC Berlin) 
      Sabine Loewer (MDC Berlin) 


      SignGene Retreat in Jerusalem, Feb 2015



      Hotel Yehuda, Jerusalem, Israel


      February 15 to 18, 2015


      At the last SignGene retreat in Jerusalem, SignGene faculty and students as well as a few internationally renowned guest speakers and, plus a few other students from SignGene labs, convened for scientific exchange, discussions, and social networking.


      Photos: Nir Friedman, Achim Leutz, Sabine Loewer

      Photo: Sabine Loewer

      Organizing Committee

      Nir Friedman (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
      Yaakov Nahmias (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
      Shari Orlanski (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
      Dana Levy (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) 
      Ronit Moshel (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) 
      Sabine Loewer (MDC Berlin) 


      SignGene Symposium in Berlin, Sep 2014

      "Quantitative Approaches in Cell Biology: Biophysics, Bioengineering & Systems Biology"

      The 2014 SignGene Symposium centered around quantitative biology, ranging from nanobiotechnology at the single molecule level to systems biology of entire cellular networks. Organized in cooperation with the Integrative Research Institute for the Life Sciences (IRI-LS) at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the symposium brought together young talents and established scientists from both programs, as well as a number of invited international experts in the field. 

      To download the detailed program, please click here


      Scientific Committee

      Andreas Herrmann (HU Berlin & IRI-LS)
      Amit Meller (Technion)
      Nikolaus Rajewsky (MDC/BIMSB) 


      Sabine Loewer (SignGene, MDC) 

      Stefanie Scharf (IRI-LS, HU Berlin) 


      SignGene PhD Retreat in Karei Deshe, Jan 2014

      The first SignGene PhD Retreat took place in Karei Deshe, at the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Israel, from January 30 - February 1, 2014.

      On the way to Karei Deshe, the students visited the Hula Valley nature reserve, which is a major resting place for birds migrating from Europe to Africa and back. Following arrival at Karei Deshe, the first guest speaker, Dr. Sebastian Kadener from Hebrew University, presented his work on the molecular control of circadian rhythms in Drosophila. In addition to two student presentations, the first day of the retreat featured a special lecture by Dr. Ety Klinger, Vice President Research & Development at Proteologics, Israel, focusing on drug development in biotech / pharmaceutical companies.

      The program of the second day consisted of student presentations and an excursion to the alligator farm and hot springs at Hamat Gader. The retreat ended with a tour to the archeological excavations at Capharnaum.

      SignGene Winter School in Haifa, Jan 2014

      Biology of Differentiation & Cancer

      How are processes such as cell proliferation, growth, and differentiation regulated at the molecular level? What happens when a cell turns into cancer?

      These are just some of the questions that were addressed during the 3-day workshop, covering topics such as

      • Transcription factor networks in differentiation and cancer
      • Signaling pathways in development and cancer
      • Genetics and functional genomics
      • Cellular microenvironment

      January 27 - Open Day

      The winter school started with the open day at the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine. 140 registered participants attended lectures by eight internationally distinguished scientists, 41 graduate students and postdocs presented their work in the poster session.

      Photos: Shmuel Zeiger (Technion), Sabine Loewer (MDC)

      Speakers of the open day

      Robert Eisenman (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, USA)

      Eduardo Moreno (University of Bern, Switzerland)

      Moshe Oren (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel)

      Yardena Samuels (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel)

      Yuval Shaked (Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel)

      Philippe Soriano (Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA)

      Yosef Yarden (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel)

      Special Lecture

      Daniel Chamovitz (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

      January 28 - 29

      During the second and third days of the winter school, experts from the SignGene faculty and invited guest speakers delved deeper into the topics touched upon on the open day. In a smaller forum, SignGene students and 40 additional registered graduate students and postdocs had the opportunity to meet and discuss their research with their peers and experienced senior scientists.

      Complementing the scientific program, participants had the chance to learn more about how to build a successful academic career in science during a special career pathways seminar. To download the complete program, please click here

      Attendants of the 3-day workshop, photo: Sabine Loewer

      Scientific Sessions

      I - Signaling Pathways in Differentiation & Cancer

      Eli Pikarsky (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
      Leutz LabAchim Leutz (MDC)

      Birchmeier LabWalter Birchmeier (MDC)

      II - Cellular Stress Response & Cancer Genetics

      Schmitt LabClemens Schmitt (Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin & MDC)
      Batsheva Kerem (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

      III - Mouse Models in Development & Cancer

      Ze'ev Ronai (Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, La Jolla, USA)
      Shai Izraeli (Tel Aviv University)

      IV - Cellular Microenvironment & Cancer Metastasis

      Israel Vlodavsky (Technion)
      Gera Neufeld (Technion)

      V - Epigenetic Gene Regulation & Nuclear Organization

      Ofir Hakim (Bar-Ilan University)
      Tommy Kaplan (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

      Yehudit Bergman (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

      VI - Gene Networks & Transcriptional Regulation

      Tzachi Pilpel (Weizmann Institute of Science)
      Amir Orian (Technion)

      Special Lectures

      Benjamin Podbilewicz (Technion)

      Nahum Sonenberg (McGill University, Canada)

      Career Pathways Seminar

      Yardena Samuels (Weizmann Institute of Science)

      Financial Support

      In addition to SignGene funding from the Helmholtz Association, this Winter School was kindly supported by the Moshe Yanai Technion Fund, the Mechora Foundation, Merck-Serono Ltd., Bar-Naor Ltd., Eldan/Neofram Ltd., Daniel Biotech Ltd., and Levant Ltd.

      1st Scientific Symposium & Workshop in Zeuthen, Jun 2013

      Frontiers in Cell Signaling and Gene Regulation

      The first SignGene symposium took place at the Seehotel Zeuthen close to Berlin from June 17-18. All six students and 27 out of the 34 group leaders including Nobel laureate Aaron Ciechanover attended the meeting to discuss ongoing projects and future collaborations.

      The scientific sessions covered the whole range of SignGene topics with highlighted keynote lectures by our four invited speakers Anjana Rao (La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, La Jolla CA, USA), Dirk Schübeler (Friedrich-Miescher-Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland), Alexander van Oudenaarden (Hubrecht Institute-KNAW & University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands), and Hao Wu (Harvard Medical School & Children's Hospital Boston MA, USA):

      • Signaling pathways in normal and cancerous cells
      • Genetic and epigenetic control of differentiation
      • Quantitative approaches to understand cell decision processes
      • The ubiquitin-proteasome system
      • Impact of structure-function relationships on cellular processes

      In addition to the scientific program, the SignGene community convened in a workshop to discuss topics for future Winter/Summer Schools of the program. The first Winter School, focusing on "Biology of Differentiation and Cancer" will be organized by Amir Orian (Technion) and Achim Leutz (MDC) to take place at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa in January 2014.

      In a workshop on funding opportunities for German-Israeli cooperation projects, Christoph Mühlberg from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG ), Marion Müller from the Einstein Foundation Berlin, and Thomas Sommer from the MDC informed about existing programs for funding and new developments.

      Symposium Poster

      Header photo: Shmuel Zeiger, Technion


      Dr. Hanna Singer (MDC)
      SignGene Coordinator

      Phone: +49 30 9406 4205
      Fax: +49 30 9406 2170




      June 2019

      Registration is open
      Register now for the SignGene Symposium 2019 "Immunotherapy of Cancer" ☐ Sep 19 - 22, 2019 ☐ Neuruppin, Germany.


      May 2019

      SignGene Symposium 2019 "Immunotherapy of Cancer"
      Organized by Thomas Blankenstein (MDC) and Yinon Ben-Neriah (HUJI). September 19 - 22, 2019. Neuruppin, Germany.


      January 2019

      Upcoming PhD Retreat & Winter School
      This year's SignGene Winter School "From Macro to Micro – Technology and Disease" will take place in Nahsholim, Israel. Dr. Emma Harris from the ORION project will join us during the PhD Retreat with exciting workshops on open science. PhD Retreat: March 24 - 25, 2019 // Winter School: March 26 - 28, 2019


      September 2018

      New SignGene Student 
      We welcome our newest member of the SignGene community. Elle Koren from the lab of Yaron Fuchs at the Technion was admitted to the program during the recent SignGene Symposium. Elle has started her PhD in 2017 and will now be co-mentored by Walter Birchmeier at the MDC. Welcome Elle!


      August 2018 

      Published in Cell: Congratulations Waleed Minzel, Eric Hung & Yinon Ben-Neriah 
      Small Molecules Co-targeting CKIα and the Transcriptional Kinases CDK7/9 Control AML in Preclinical Models (Pubmed)


      News Archive