Opening: PhD student (m/f/d) in Biophysics

The Hyman and Zechner labs are looking for a PhD student to research the control of cellular noise via phase separation.

Brief summary:

Liquid condensates provide a potential mechanism to control molecular fluctuations in cells. We have recently provided a first proof of principle of this idea using theory and single-cell experiments. In this project, we want to explore this concept more broadly within physiological contexts and understand its functional implications for cellular control. The project has a highly interdisciplinary character and bridges between experimental work and theory. We welcome both theorists and experimentalists to apply.

Qualifications of the candidate: 

Biophysics, biochemistry, single-cell biology, theoretical physics, stochastic processes.

Relavent Publications:

  • Klosin, A.*, Oltsch, F. *, Julicher, F., Harmon, T., Honigmann, A., Hyman, A.A., Zechner, C. (2020). Phase separation provides a mechanism to reduce noise in cells. Science 367, 464-467.  *(co-first authors)

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The National Academy of Sciences elected new members…

2020 NAS Awards announced

and we are happy that Tony got elected as well! Congratulations from the whole lab.

The Academy has around 2400 members amd Tony will be one of only 500 international Scientist in the Academy.

The National Academy of Sciences was founded in 1863 to “...provide independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology“. This objective seems to be more important than ever these days.


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Tony receives NOMIS award and is now NOMIS distinguished scientist

The Swiss based NOMIS foundation “…enables outstanding talent to take on high-risk research”. Now they awarded Tony and the lab $2.5 million in recognition of our “contributions to the advancement of science and human progress”. The money is awarded for the project “Phase Transitions and Biological Condensates: The Molecular Sociology of Cell Organization” and we will investigate the physical-chemical basis by which intrinsically disordered proteins phase-separate and explore the roles of phase separation in physiology and disease.

Congratulations as well to the other awardees, Ronald Evans from Salk

link to the NOMIS foundation

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Die neue Biologie der Tröpfchen

Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel article of Sascha Karberg about the discovery and applications of phase separation

“Es ist eine Entdeckung, die das Verständnis der Zelle revolutioniert. Die erste Firma, die das neue Wissen für neue Therapien nutzt, kommt nun nach Berlin”. click here for full article in german
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Our kinetochore paper is selected for the 65th birthday collection of JCB

For the collection celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Journal of Cell biology, our paper Functional Analysis of Kinetochore Assembly in Caenorhabditis elegans was selected for its contribution to “dissecting the mechanics of cell division”. The paper from 2001 by Karen and Arshad, postdocs in our lab at the time has great company there. Click here for the link

GFP-histone H2B was used to visualize chromosome segregation during the first mitotic cell division

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Tony wins 2020 Wiley Prize in Biomolecular Sciences

Tony wins the 19th annual prize together with Clifford Brangwynne of Princeton university and Michael Rosen of the Southwestern University in Texas for their work on defining phase-separated biomolecular condensates. In a statement of the Wiley foundation their work was recognized for…

revealing a new principle for subcellular compartmentalization based on formation of phase-separated biomolecular condensates, a process implicated in both physiological and pathological events

Since 2002 the prize has recognized “breakthrough research in pure and applied life sciences research”. Past prize winners “have been chosen because of their breakthrough research in areas as diverse as genetics, cell motility, folded proteins and siRNA. The impressive list of past recipients includes winners of the Nobel Prize and the Lasker Prize in basic medical research”

Congratulations to Tony, Cliff and Mike and all their coworkers in their labs!

click here for the original press announcement.

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Enrichment of soluble tubulin at centrosomes

Recent work from Dresden (2017) suggests that centrosomes are condensates that nucleate in part by concentrating soluble tubulin. Here we show that indeed tubulin is extremely concentrated at centrosome in C. elegans embryos, suggesting that such a tubulin concentration could indeed play a key role in nucleation.




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Tony wins Carl Zeiss lecture award

The award to Tony comes from the German Society for Cell Biology for excellent achievements in research and was established in 1990 by the company Zeiss. Tony will lecture on September 27th in Tübingen during the fall conference of the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM) and the German Society for Cell Biology (DGZ). read more: Press release from the MPI-CBG and press release from Zeiss

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Small molecules that dissolve stress granules

In ALS, a mutated nuclear protein, FUS (fused in sarcoma), mislocalises to the cytoplasm and aggregates in stress granules. This leads to a liquid to solid transition of the granules and a consequent degeneration of the motor neuron (motor neuron die-back ). We show that lipoamide and lipoic acid can prevent the aggregation of FUS and consequently the die-back of patient-derived motor neurons in cell culture. It also reduced protein aggregation in C. elegans and induced the recovery of motor defects in transgenic D. melanogaster expressing a mutant FUS.

This study takes advantage of the recent advances in understanding liquid-liquid phase separation in health and disease. Read more.

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Suzanne Eaton

We, past and current members of the Hyman lab, are reeling from the sudden and tragic loss of Suzanne Eaton. She was a wonderful person who lives on in our hearts. In this difficult time, we stand together with her family and colleagues.

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