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Helmholtz Munich | Amelie J. Kraus

Research at the IFE

Decoding and harnessing the power of epigenetics…

Decoding and harnessing the power of epigenetics…

Our mission is to understand: How are genes packaged within the nucleus of a cell? How does DNA organization regulate gene expression? How does the marking of genomic regions with distinct small chemical modifications establish a cellular memory? We utilize cutting-edge technologies to observe, predict, and manipulate how these processes respond to environmental and developmental signals in individual cells.

The human body is composed of more than 200 different cell types. Each of our body’s cells contains the same hereditary information encoded in around 30,000 genes. Each gene serves as a plan for a protein that can be produced during a process called gene expression. However, our cells do not express all genes, only the ones required for their function. Thus, different cell types express different sets of genes. But how do our cells control which genes are active?

The DNA encodes genes and is packaged inside the nucleus in a fascinating structure called chromatin. Remodeling chromatin by epigenetic mechanisms controls the ON-and-OFF status of our genes. It ensures that the right set of genes is expressed in each cell. However, if misregulated, these mechanisms can cause fatal diseases such as metabolic disorders or cancer.

From Discovery to Therapy - the Future is Epigenetic

At the Institute of Functional Epigenetics (IFE) we established a nucleus for epigenetic research at the Helmholtz Munich and bridge different disease areas. We are committed to deciphering the epigenetic principles underlying (i) the development of common diseases, (ii) the predisposition for diseases through environmental impacts, and (iii) cellular reprogramming and potency. We will devise solutions for tackling epigenetic anomalies in disease, stem cell renewal, and cellular metabolism to promote a healthier society in a rapidly changing world.

Our Research Topics

Nuclear Architecture and Environmental Stress

Putting Worms on Diet

How does environmental stress affect the state, spatial compartmentalization and function of chromatin within an intact developing organism, namely the roundworm C. elegans?

Metaboloepigenomics

You are what you eat…

Do diet and nutrition impact human health through Epigenetics? Are epigenetic mechanisms or even epigenetic inheritance the trigger for environmental diseases such as diabetes?

Cellular Identity Changes

Making heads and tails of embryos.

How do cells self-organize so that they migrate together? How do they “talk” to the other cells and instruct them to adopt different fates, based on their position?

Linking Epigenetics, Metabolism, and the Environment

How plants cope with climate change

How do environmental changes influence epigenetic regulation in plants? How do chromatin dynamics contribute to acclimation and stress memory?

Transcriptional Memory

Like mother, like daughter – the inheritance of transcriptional states

How does chromatin regulate cellular processes at a single-cell level? How is “epigenetic” information inherited to cellular progenies?

Epigenetics Effectors

Cracking the Epigenetic Code

How do epigenetic effectors read DNA and histone modification patterns? How do they recognize different chromatin modification states?

Tracking Cell Size

Size does matter after all.

How do cells coordinate growth and division to control their size? How does cell size a­ffect fundamental biosynthetic processes?

New players in chromatin regulation

The new Kids on the Block

How do novel types of histone modifications mechanistically regulate chromatin function? How do they couple chromatin structure with the environment and disease?

Our Scientists

Dr Till Bartke

Deputy Director of the Institute of Functional Epigenetics

Dr. Jessica Pellegrino

Postdoc

Dr. Igor Kukhtevich

Postdoc

Kevin Brockers

Doctoral Researcher

Dr. Andrey Tvardovskiy

Postdoc

Dr. Kurt Schmoller

Group Leader

Daniela Bureik

Research Technician

Sandra Nitsch

Doctoral Researcher

Simona Nasiscionyte

Doctoral Researcher

Anika Seel

Doctoral Researcher

Palma Rico

Research Technician

Marlet Morales Franco

Doctoral Researcher

Dimitra Chatzitheodoridou

Doctoral Researcher

Dr. Francesco Padovani

Postdoc

Dr. Amelie Johanna Kraus

Scientific Coordinator for Epigenetics

Thomas Gerling

Administrative Assistant

Magdalena Valenta

PhD Student

Scarlett Dornauer

Senior Lab Manager

Dr. Daphne Selvaggia Cabianca

Group Leader

Johanna Hornung

Research Technician

Nada Saad Norildin Al-Refaie

Doctoral Researcher

Yagya Chadha

Doctoral Researcher

Bihter Özdemir Aygenli

Doctoral Researcher

Benedikt Mairhörmann

Doctoral Researcher

Dr. Iratxe Estivariz

Postdoc

Alissa Finster

Doctoral Researcher

Lorenz Pudelko

Doctoral Researcher

Emilia Izabela Cepowska

Doctoral Researcher

Purva Choudhary

Working student

Arohi Khurana

Doctoral Researcher

Huiwen Li

Doctoral Researcher

Yu-Hao (Eric) Liu

Doctoral Researcher

Gabriela Santos

Bioinformatician

Fernanda Pabst

Doctoral Researcher

Carole Zaratiegui

Doctoral Researcher

Minnah Irfan

MSc. student

Leonardo Bolcato

MSc. student

Contact

Institute Office

Thomas Gerling

Administrative Assistant

Contact

Institute Office

Petra Hammerl

Institute Assistant

Building 90, Room 105