Welcome! A genome architect and a proteomics expert join the MDC

After the summer break, the MDC is pleased to welcome new scientists in leading positions. Darío Lupíañez is a junior group leader at the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB), and Philipp Mertins is the new head of the MDC and BIH Proteomics Platform.

Darío Lupíañez. Bild: privat

Darío Lupíañez. Image: private

At the beginning of September, Darío G. Lupíañez joined the MDC. He is now leading the new junior group “Epigenetics and Sex Development” at the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB).

Lupíañez received his PhD from the University of Granada (Spain), where he worked with Dr. Rafael Jimenez on sex determination and gonadal development in the Iberian mole (Talpa occidentalis). From 2012 to 2017, he worked as a postdoc in the lab of Prof. Stefan Mundlos at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (Berlin), focusing on chromatin architecture and disease.

The long-term research goal of Lupíañez’s lab at the MDC is understanding gene regulation in the context of a three-dimensional genome. He aims to decipher how cellular fate is determined and maintained in vivo and how this information is encoded in the mammalian genome by using the bipotential gonad as a model. His lab combines various new methods and technologies to detect regulatory elements and to define and perturb regulatory landscapes in vivo to assess their functionality.

Should you be interested in joining his lab as a PhD student, undergraduate, or technician, please see this current job advertisement. Postdoctoral researchers with interest in developing specific projects are also welcome. Be sure to check out Darío Lupíañez’s website and twitter (@Dariloops).

Philipp Mertins. Bild: privat

Philipp Mertins. Image: private

From Cambridge, USA, to Berlin

In August 2017, Philipp Mertins moved from the Proteomics Platform at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, USA, to Berlin. He is now head of the MDC and BIH Proteomics Platform. The mass spectrometry specialist is, for example, interested in how genetic alterations within a tumor – such as in breast cancer – affect the proteomic landscape and therefore signaling of cancer cells. The aim is to identify the most significant alterations (driver mutations) that help the cancer survive as well as target molecules for drugs.

Similar studies that involve the integration of proteomic and genomic data are important for basic research as well. “We don’t just identify relevant proteins. We would like to gain a fundamental understanding about how they are produced and regulated and how this affects their function,” says Mertins. Among other things, he was involved in developing a leading technology that helps to analyze all proteins and their states in their entirety. “Our platform focuses on three things: fundamental research, development of new technologies, and translational projects,” he says. “We are looking forward to working with groups from the MDC and BIH.”

After studying biochemistry at the Universities of Regensburg and Witten/Herdecke, Philipp Mertins worked as a PhD student and postdoc in the lab of Axel Ullrich at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried (2004–2009). In 2009, he joined the lab of Steven Carr at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, USA. From 2015, he was a group leader in the Proteomics and Biomarkers Platform and co-director of the NIH-funded Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Center.

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