Inhaltspezifische Aktionen

Research & qualification programme

Regulatory networks play a crucial role in gene expression and in the mRNA life cycle. As important components in these networks, new classes of noncoding RNAs have emerged in the last decade. Misregulation of such RNA-based networks often causes human diseases. Moreover, the traditional borders between protein-coding mRNAs and noncoding RNAs are becoming increasingly blurred. To reach this new, RNA-focussed view on gene expression, the rapid development and wide application of high-throughput sequencing technologies and the corresponding RNA bioinformatics played crucial roles.

How do regulatory networks at the interface between coding and noncoding RNAs govern the mRNA life cycle? To address this, we have initiated a new research and qualification programme concentrating on RNA-based gene-regulatory networks in a broad range of model organisms, including the mammalian system as well as prokaryotic, yeast, and plant model systems. The two foci of interest in the participating groups are, first, the main stages of the mRNA life cycle (transcription and mRNP biogenesis, RNA processing, translation, mRNA decay) and second, representative examples of regulatory noncoding RNA classes (eukaryotic microRNAs, long noncoding RNAs, circular RNAs, prokaryotic small RNAs). Thesis projects cover a wide spectrum of approaches: from classical RNA biochemistry and cell biology to RNA-Seq and biocomputational analyses. Specific research topics range from molecular principles of gene expression to disease-relevant questions in molecular medicine and innovative applications of RNA biotechnology. Collaborations across disciplines and systems is strongly encouraged, involving also international partners.

Regarding major educational goals, our programme conveys a comprehensive and multidisciplinary view on regulatory networks in the mRNA life cycle, focussing on the newly emerging classes of noncoding RNAs and their functions, and provides practical experience in state-of-the-art RNA technologies. Our qualification programme also includes a “learning by teaching” concept, workshops and lectures for the systematic training of innovation strategies and standard key qualifications, and promotes early exposure to applied RNA biotechnology. Thereby our programme supports our students in this highly competitive and dynamic area, exposes them to an international environment and perspective, and guides them in their own exploration of novel facets of RNA research.