PhD Student (m/f/d) – Honigmann Lab

Segregation of membrane domains and junctional complexes in epithelial tissue.
Segregation of membrane domains and junctional complexes in epithelial tissue.
The Honigmann lab aims to reveal how supra-molecular structures at cellular interfaces self-organize and how tissue shape and function emerges from the underlying molecular patterns.

Project Title

Supra-molecular organisation of cell-cell interfaces via protein and lipid mediated phase separation

Brief summary

Establishment and segregation of cellular junctions into mesoscale membrane domains underlies emergence of epithelial tissue morphology and function. We aim to understand how cell-cell adhesion junctions are nucleated, how they grow and how they segregate from other membrane complexes to establish a tissue specific supra-molecular architecture. Phase separation of membrane scaffolding proteins and lipids is emerging as a key principle driving this process. To get at a mechanistic understanding we use the following approaches:  

  • Characterization of supramolecular structure and dynamics of cell-cell interfaces in epithelial tissues (STED, FCS, FRET, FRAP, 2D and 3D cell culture, genetics)
  • Semi-reconstitution of hybrid cell-cell adhesion interfaces (2D/3D micro-patterning, protein purification, TIRF)
  • Reconstitution of cell junctions (artificial membranes, protein purification / characterization, microscopy)

Qualification of the candidate

Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Microscopy