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Welcome Lena!

The Hake group welcomes Lena Weber cordially as new PhD student. Lena, we appreciate it very much that you decided to conduct your doctoral thesis with us. We are super excited: we already know that you are a valuable part of your team and wish you a successful and happy time in the lab.


Lena Weber

April - May


Welcome Carlotta & Jie!

A shared path ends, others are starting. We are saying farewell to Sandy (Sandra Stullgys), who we will miss very much! All the best for your new career! But there are also great news: Carlotta Kreienbaum, who successfully prepared her Master Thesis within the Hake group and thrilled us with her singing talent, startet her PhD thesis; and Jie Lan, a highly experienced chromatin researcher, began his PostDoc work in the Hake group. We are welcoming both of them and are looking forward to exciting discoveries. Best of luck!

February 2021


ZAP-70, involved in B cell receptor signalling, regulates gene expression, cellular fitness and protein synthesis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells

The Hake group is happy to have contributed to the story headed by Ingo Ringshausen, University of Cambridge, UK, demonstrating how constitutive levels of ZAP-70 increase the aggressiveness of CLL. This study showed that ZAP-70 promotes cell survival and protein synthesis, thereby improving cellular fitness of CLL cells and driving disease progression. The study is now published in Blood.

See also:



January 2021


Farewell of Konstantin Kletenkov

Konstantin Kletenkov, PostDoc in the Hake group, found a new position and leaves the team end of January. We will miss a great colleague and very good friend and congratulate him to this fantastic next step in his career. With his knowledge and constant team support he was always a great help and estimated member of the Hake team. With a little “Corona-conform” celebration we gave him a hearty farewell and wish him all the best for his future.




JAZF1 is a novel p400-complex member involved in H2A.Z acetylation at regulatory regions (enhancers)

Great work from TARA PROCIDA, a PhD student in the Hake group, was just published in IJMS. In collaboration with the groups of Marek Bartkuhn, Thorsten Stiewe, Tilman Borggrefe and Matthias Mann and help from former (Jack, Peritore & Bönisch) and current (Daus & Kletenkov) Hake group members, Tara identified JAZF1 as novel member of the H2A.Z-specific p400/TIP60/NuA4 chaperone complex and demonstrated its role in the regulation of H2A.Z acetylation levels at more than 1.000 regulatory regions (enhancers) and its involvement in ribosome biogenesis.

See also:

Chromatin remodelling processes during urinary tract infections identified


The Hake group is happy to have contributed to the story headed by the JLU researchers Sudhanshu Bushan and Andreas Meinhardt demonstrating decreased acetyl-CoA levels upon uropathic E. coli infections leading to reduced H3K9 acetylation at promoters and changes in gene expression pattern. Hence, upon infection, the bacteria rearrange host cell metabolism to induce chromatin remodeling processes that subvert expression of host innate immune response genes. The study is now published in J. Infect.Dis.

See also:




December 2020

Virtual Christmas-Party

Everything was different this year. SARS-CoV-2 had not respect for our desire to celebrate, and so the Hake lab got together with Marek’s new team and organized a virtual Christmas party. Many thanks to the “newcomers”, who were responsible for planning and preparation of this unusual event. Due to their effort, in the end we all had a wonderful party with gifts, games and lots of fun. Even with distance, what a fantastic team! Merry X-mas, happy New Year 2021 and, most of all, stay safe and healthy!


Architecture of the NuRD complex solved

Congratulations to Sandra Hake, who contributed to the latest discoveries on the architecture of the nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) complex by the Joel Mackay group (Sydney, Australia). They define the stoichiometry of the complex and demonstrate that PWWP2A competes with MBD3 to sequester the Deacetylase module from NuRD. The study is now published in Cell Reports.

See also:

Graphical abstract of Low et al, Cell Reports, 2020

November 2020


Decoration-Competition“ between the Hake Labs

To have some fun and joy in these dull and contact-less days, a decoration competition between the Hake labs was organized. The challenge was to decorate the labs according to the theme “Fall-Winter-Halloween”. An independent and competent jury consisting of the former lab members Marek and David determined the winners: Lab 306 with Nadine, Sandy and Tara. Congratulations! It was a tight result; everyone was extremely creative and imaginative and all participants had lots of fun. Such an event will certainly be repeated in the next year… And, of course, everything was executed strictly according to Corona guidelines.

July 2020


Nature publication on the role of H3.3 Serine 31 phosphorylation in transcription induction

In collaboration with the groups of Steven Z. Josefowicz, Haitao Li and C. David Allis did members of the Hake team help to discover new functions of the histone variant H3.3. Phosphorylation of the H3.3-unique serine at position 31 (H3.3S31ph), which was first identified by Sandra Hake to be mitosis-specific (Hake SB et al., PNAS, 2005), leads to a stimulus-dependent rapid induction of transcription due to recruitment and ejection of chromatin regulators in post-mitotic cells. Details can be found in the original article published in Nature:




April 2020


Congratulations to Prof. Dr. Marek Bartkuhn

An era is ending: Marek Bartkuhn, long-standing research assistant, bioinformatics-guru, chromatin-specialist, “smart cookie” and fantastic friend accepted the W2 professorship for Bioinformatics and Systems Biology at the FB11 (Medicine) of the JLU and is leaving the Institute for Genetics. We are all extremely happy about Marek’s success and are, at the same time, very sad to lose him as direct colleague. All the best, Marek! We will miss you!


                                        Prof. Dr. Marek Bartkuhn

Due to the Corona-Pandemie, we had to give a virtual fare-well to Marek.

March 2020


Corona Pandemic

End of March, we had to drastically reduce our experimental work due to the ongoing Corona Pandemic. Empty floors, deserted labs and virtual meetings are evidences of this difficult time. But clearly, health comes first! We all hope that everyone at the Institute and their family and friends will get through the crisis unharmed.


December 2019


Christmas Party of the Institute for Genetics

With lots of fun, gifts, entertaining games and good food the members of the Institute for Genetics celebrated an advanced Christmas party. All PIs had to give ad hoc presentations to imaginative scientific discoveries. “Dirty-Santa” gifts and many games enriched the amazing atmosphere even more and a delicious meal at a restaurant with a memorable poem by Tim completed the event exquisitely.



November 2019


Histone variants H3.X and H3.Y and their functional role in DUX4 expression

Congratulations to Sandra Hake who contributed to the latest discoveries in H3.X and H3.Y histone variant biology made by the Stephen Tapscott group (Seattle, USA). The authors discovered a feedback loop between the transcription factor DUX4, involved in facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD), and the primate-specific histone variants H3.Y and H3.X, identified in 2010 by the Hake group. Their findings provide a model for how the brief expression of DUX4 can establish via H3.X/Y a memory of its transcriptional network. The study is now published in Cell Reports.

See also:


Graphical abstract of Resnick R. et al., Cell Reports, 2019

October 2019


Team-Forming Activities of the Hake group

This year’s Hake lab retreat took place at the Institute to strengthen the team spirit with many different challenges. With lots of fun, creativity, trust and cleverness all members of the group solved several different problems, such as:

“Egg-Drop”: how to wrap/secure a raw egg with some selected lab consumables to prevent breakage after falling from the third story of the building?

“Towel-Turn”: how to turn a towel while the whole team stands on it?

„Spaghetti-Marshmallow-Tower“: how to build the highest but still stable spaghetti tower with a marshmallow on top, when only tape, rubber band and rope are allowed to be used?

“Minefield”: how to travers through an area with many obstacles while having the eyes tied and only the partner is allowed to shout directions from a distance?  


And besides many other challenges, four teams had to generate a logo that best represents the Hake team and its scientific focus. It was a fantastic day with lots of fun, laughter and new insights, where everyone got closer with each other.


September 2019


5th International Symposium of the TRR81

The 5th international Symposium of the TRR81, organized by U. Bauer, A. Brehm, T. Borggrefe, F. Grosveld, S. Hake, M. Kracht, S. Philipsen and X. Yuan, took place at the MPI in Bad Nauheim from September 9th till 11th. Fantastic talks and amazing poster presentations featured new discoveries that are in the scientific focus of the TRR81 “Chromatin changes in differentiation and malignancies”. We are extremely happy and proud that Sandra Stullgys and Tim Wunderlich from the Hake team won the 3rd price for their poster presentation and flash talk.

July 2019

Congratulations to Stephanie Link for her fantastic PhD Defense!

Stephanie Link, who is a member of the Hake group and continued working at the LMU Munich, has successfully defended her PhD Thesis.

Marek Bartkuhn: Two Papers Published

Congratulations to Marek Bartkuhn from the Hake team and Tobias Zimmermann, whose bioinformatic analyses contributed to TWO collaborative papers published now in Cancers & Nature Communications.

See also:

Paper-Party and “Paper-Hanging” tradition to celebrate Marek’s and Tobias’s recent achievements.

Summer-BBQ Party of the Institute of Genetics

Although the summer made a short break and temperatures dropped, we all had a fantastic time at this year’s Summer-BBQ-Party and table tennis game, with almost all members of the Institute participating. The tables almost collapsed under the weight of the self-made and delicious food. In addition, several past birthdays were celebrated with lots of presents. It was, as always, a wonderful and happy day, we will remember for a long time.


June 2019

Welcome to our new Bachelor Students

We are happy to welcome our new Bachelor Students at the Institute of Genetics!!! Valentina Birne, Niklas Papenkordt, Max Pommert, Inga Stellmacher and Lena Weber are joining the Hake team, and Annika Dohmen, Yannic Noe and Nico Schlaudraff are working in the group of Reinhard Dammann. We are sure, we will all have a great and productive time together!

Review on H2A.Z’s role in Gene Regulation

Congratulations to Andreas Herchenröther from the Hake team, who contributed to a review from the Tilman Borggrefe group on “H2A.Z in Gene Regulation”, published now in Epigenetics & Chromatin. See also:

Andreas starting the new tradition of displaying papers from the Hake team published at the JLU Giessen

25 years of employment, congratulations to Jörg Leers!

This June, Jörg Leers’ 25th year job anniversary took place. Congratulations to his long and exciting scientific career! We are happy and lucky to have such a fantastic, funny and experienced colleague in our team!

Jörg Leers

May 2019


Welcome Tim!

The Hake lab welcomes Tim Marius Wunderlich as new PhD student! We are thrilled that Tim is joining us and continues the highly successful work of Stephanie Link, who will graduate in Munich soon. Good luck for your studies, Tim!

Tim Wunderlich (in the middle)

May 2019


Institute for Genetics "takes off"!

This year’s Institute retreat took us to Darmstadt. We had a fantastic, “high-orbiting” time at the ESA (ESOC). Cosmology meets Biology: we all can learn a lot from each other. The day was concluded at the zoo with more exciting discoveries in the reptile, butterflies, bird and ape houses made.

April 2019


Sonja Sahner officially honored!

Although her 25th year job anniversary happened already last year, the president of the JLU Giessen, Prof. Dr. Mukherjee, presented Sonja with her certificate at an official ceremony. Music, sparkling wine, speeches and great food made it an amazing day to remember. (see also


March 2019


Girls-Day Rocks!

Today, 5th grade school girls visited our lab and successfully performed many experiments under the guidance of Marek Bartkuhn. We had lots of fun and were quite impressed by these motivated future scientists. Look at what they did with red cabbage juice: a big color spectacle in early spring time!


February 2019

Welcome Konstantin, a new PostDoc in the Hake group!

We are thrilled to welcome Konstantin Kletenkov, the new PostDoc in the Hake group!

December 2018

Christmas Party  

The groups of Reinhard Dammann and Sandra Hake have jointly celebrated Christmas with many games, gifts, fun, laughter and delicious food. It was an unforgettable party; 1000 thanks to all participants! Together, we are recapitulating a successful year 2018 and are looking forward to mastering all challenges in 2019!

Job-Anniversary of Sonja Sahner

Sonja Sahner, the lab manager of the group of Sandra Hake, celebrated 25th job anniversary. We all thank Sonja for her tireless commitment, her organization talent, her dedication of the team, and that she cheers us up with her optimism and laughter. We are looking forward to many, many more years with Sonja at our side!

Reinhard Dammann pays tribute to Sonja at an internal celebration party.

October 2018


Welcome Sandra, Lena and Tobias

The Hake team welcomes three new members in Fall 2018. Sandra Stullgys complements the group as new PhD student, Lena Vogel strengthens the technical assistants’ staff and Tobias Friedrich performs practical work and will prepare his Master Thesis. We are all extremely happy about the reinforcement of our team!

From left to right: Lena Vogel, Tobias Friedrich and Sandra Stullgys



The story on PWWP2A-H2A.Z continues…

Together with research groups from Marburg, Munich, Cambridge (UK) and Sydney (Australia), members of the Hake group in collaboration with Marek Bartkuhn investigated in detail the chromatin binding abilities of PWWP2A and its role in gene regulation. This work, headed by Stephanie Link and Ramona Spitzer, opens new insights into the intricate mechanisms of how H2A.Z, via recruitment of PWWP2A and a histone deacetylase complex, influences histone modifications at regulatory genomic elements leading to the modulation of target gene transcription. Details are found within the original article published in Nature Communication:


September 2018

Congratulations to Ramona Spitzer to her successful PhD Defense

Ramona Spitzer, who is a member of the Hake group and continued working at the LMU Munich, has successfully defended her PhD Thesis.

Ramona after her successful and fantastic PhD defence.

August 2018

Institute Retreat: Sportive challenges

This year, all members of the Genetic Institute participated together in a sportive retreat. Tree climbing in the morning and table tennis as well as tabel football in the afternoon guaranteed a day of fun.

Klettergarten B.jpg

Members of the Hake and Dammann teams at the "Klettergarten"



The winners of the table tennis tournament

August 2018

Welcome Rashed

We all welcome Mohammad Rashedul Alam as a new member of the Hake team!

Rashed celebrated the start of his PhD with delicious, self-cooked Bangladeshi food.

Rashed (on the left) together with members of the Hake and Dammann teams and his wife celebrating the start of his PhD work in the seminar room with exquisite Bangladeshi food.

July 2018


Inaugural Lecture of Sandra Hake

On July 5th 2018, the President of the JLU Giessen and the Dean of the Faculty 08 invited the public to the Inaugural Lecture “Beyond the DNA double helix: Why the same genes do not implicate same fate” of Sandra Hake.

Foto Antritt_SH.jpg

Job-Anniversary of Anna Hergott

Anna Hergott, secretary and soul of the Institute of Genetics, celebrates her 25th job anniversary. All members of the Institute thank Anna for her continous commitment and help, the organisation of the Institute would not be possible without her. Thank you and congratulations, Anna!

Anna Hergott

DFG-funding of Collaborative Chromatin Research in Gießen/Marburg/Bad Nauheim and Rotterdam (TRR81) continues for four years!


The German Research Foundation (DFG) provides funding for the third and last funding period of the Collaborative Research Center, the TransRegio TRR81 “Chromatin Changes in Differentiation and Malignancies” between Gießen/Marburg/Bad Nauheim and Rotterdam. The TRR81 coordinates research of 22 groups, an integrated research training network and two special core facilities homed in the faculties of the Justus-Liebig-University Gießen, Philipps-University Marburg, Max-Planck-Institute Bad Nauheim, and Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, as well as two external Universities (Cologne and Heidelberg/Mannheim). Spokesperson and coordinator of the TRR81 is Prof. Alexander Brehm (Marburg), Vice-coordinator is Prof. Sandra Hake (Gießen) and Coordinator in Rotterdam is Prof. Sjaak Philipsen.

The TRR81 focuses on chromatin structure changes occurring during cell differentiation and malignancies. For more information see

June 2018

Summer-BBQ of the Institute of Genetics


With best weather, all members of the Institute of Genetics got together for the yearly BBQ on the JLU Campus. Sunshine, hot sausages, salads, BBQ-sauces and delicious desserts warranted a stimulating and cheerful atmosphere!

Masters of BBQ

Collective meal of both scientific groups

End of an Era

On June 30th, 2018, after almost 50!!! years of service for the Institute of Genetics at the JLU, Leni (Helen) Schäfer-Pfeiffer has laid aside her pipette and started her well-deserved retirement.

We wish her all the best for the new path-of-life and thank her for her outstanding commitment over the last decades!

Leni together with her husband at the farewell party

April 2018

Tara Procida is awarded with JLU Graduate Stipend!

Congratulations to Tara Procida, who was awarded with the prestigious Graduate Stipend from the JLU!

Tara Procida

January 2018


Sandra Hake was elected member of the advisory board of the German Genetics Society (Gesellschaft für Genetik, GfG) and




October 2017


Gone with the win…


Stormy fall weather sets the Genetic Institute into motion…

Retreat of the Genetics Institute to Friedberg


This year, all members of Reinhard Damman’s and Sandra Hake’s groups traveled to Friedberg. After sightseeing of the old city and castle and lunch, we demonstrated our sportiveness by playing “black-light” minigolf.


Welcome Tara and Andreas!


Tara Procida and Andreas Herchenröther are new PhD students in the group of Sandra Hake. We are all excited about Tara’s and Andreas’ start in our team!


 Tara Procida                 and       Andreas Herchenröther

Congratulations to Lisa-Maria Zink’s excellent thesis defense!


Lisa-Maria Zink, from the group of Sandra Hake, did an amazing job in her thesis defense.


Lisa-Maria Zink (left) celebrating her excellent thesis defense at the LMU Munich.


September 2017


PWWP2A and Mitosis


Stephanie Link and Sandra Hake have written a feature article on PWWP2A’s role in mitotic processes. The review that was published in the Journal “Cell Cycle” can be viewed under




September 2017

3rd International EMBO Workshop on Histone Variants


Sandra Hake, together with her co-organizers Marcus Buschbeck and Patrick Heun and with administrative support of Anna Hergott and Carolin Brieger, did organize the 3rd international EMBO Workshop “Histone Variants: Molecular functions in health and disease”, September 6th – 8th, 2017 in Planegg-Martinsried ( With participants from all over the world (e.g. Australia, Japan, Korea, Europe), excellent talks and posters and many stimulating discussion sessions, the meeting turned out to be a great success.

Marcus Buschbeck, Sandra Hake und Patrick Heun


Sandra Hake as moderator and chair of the final panel discussion session.

June 2017


PWWP2A: a new partner of H2A.Z nucleosomes

An international science team headed by Sandra Hake identified PWWP2A, a so-far

uncharacterized protein, as interactor of the histone variant H2A.Z. PWWP2A

binds to chromatin in a multivalent manner and has important functions in gene

regulation, mitosis and cranial-facial development in frogs. Details can be found

in the original publication in The EMBO Journal



At the time M.Sc. Tara Procida is on training in our institute


Tara Procida                     coached by Leni......

March 2017

Masters of the Table

Getting together: the AG Dammann and AG Hake celebrated the start of their newly installed

yearly sportive tournament (at the table tennis plate). The picture shows all participants and

the winner, our "Genetics Timo Boll" Jörg Leers (right)!

(Only Adriana, Nadine, Sonja and Tobias are missing.)

February 2017

Deposition requirements of H3.Y and H3.3 revealed

The graduate student Lisa-Maria Zink (AG Hake, LMU Team) in close collaboration with the

groups of Matthias Mann (MPI Munich), Philippe Collas (University of Oslo, Norway) and Marek

Bartkuhn (JLU Giessen) succeeded in identifying the chaperone complex of the primate specific

histone variant H3.Y allowing further insights into the deposition mechanisms of another closely

related and in cancer frequently mutated histone variant H3.3.




February 2017

All you want (and need) to know about histone variants….



Marcus Buschbeck (Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute, Badalona, Spain) and Sandra

Hake have published a seminal review article on histone variants and their roles in cell fate

decisions and cancer in Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology

(see also

November 2016

Farewell LMU, Welcome JLU

After ten fantastic, successful and fun years at the LMU, the “molecular biology family” says

“good-buy” to Sandra Hake (alias crazy professor). Mandatory: costumes, cocktails, music,

performances and lots of fun!

Abschied LMU















Thanks to all former colleagues, alumni and group members (see picture) for organizing such wonderful party!

And thanks to the JLU Giessen for such a warm welcome (see also JLU Uniforum February 2017 issue

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