Research Groups

Boland Lab

Structural studies of cytokine-mediated signal transduction

Cells use cytokines to communicate with each other in various complex processes, ranging from cell proliferation and differentiation to apoptosis and immune responses. These small soluble proteins recognize their target cells via specific cell surface receptors. Our laboratory is interested in dissecting the underlying molecular mechanisms of signal transduction by using an integrative structural biology approach. Employing state of the art cryo-EM will allow us to determine high-resolution structures of such receptor-ligand complexes. Defining different functional states, using other structural, biochemical and biophysical methods such as protein engineering, will help us to understand and manipulate selected signaling pathways, with putative pharmaceutical implications.

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DNA Replication Stress in Cancer

The long-term goal of our research is to understand cancer at the molecular level and then use this knowledge to develop novel cancer therapies. Because this goal is shared by many laboratories world-wide, there is considerable progress and hope for new effective therapies that may materialize within the next two decades.

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Growth control by TOR signaling pathways

Division, accumulation of mass (growth) and death are all fundamental aspects of cell behaviour. All three processes are highly regulated and the loss of this regulation can have direct medical consequences.

The Loewith group belongs to a Swiss "National Centre for Competence in Research" – NCCR – in Chemical biology. For more information about this dynamic group of researchers please visit

Students interested in pursuing a highly interdisciplinary Master's degree in Chemical Biology are encouraged to learn more about our exciting and unique MSc programme at:

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Matter Lab

Neurogenesis, retina development and regeneration

We are interested in the regulatory mechanisms underlying retina ontogenesis. For the past years, we have explored how the proneural proteins ATOH7 and NEUROGENIN 2 regulate the conversion of proliferating progenitor cells into differentiated neurons in the developing retina.

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Regulation of gene expression by RNA modifications and non-coding RNA

Our lab seeks to understand molecular mechanisms involved in regulation of gene expression by noncoding RNAs and RNA modifications. We use a variety of animal and cell culture model systems. Our methodological approaches range from protein biochemistry to structural biology and bioinformatics. We are part of the NCCR RNA & Disease network.

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Gene regulation, Telomere structure and function

Our general area of interest is the relationship between chromosome structure and the processes of gene regulation, DNA replication, repair and recombination, and chromosome segregation.

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Steiner Lab

Nucleosome organization and chromatin function

Our main research objective is to elucidate how nucleosome organization is related to chromatin function. We are particularly interested in the organization of centromeric chromatin and in the interplay between chromatin structure and gene expression during differentiation and development.

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