Research Groups

Group Photo

Dr. Moritz Kreysing
Research Group Leader

My lab focuses on questions of how physics shapes and evolves biological systems.
We aim to establish the following paradigms:

i)    Reaction-transport-systems have long been supposed to underlie a multitude of morphogenetic and developmental programs. We demonstrate how light-induced perturbations of cytoplasmic flow can be used to test reaction-transport-systems in-vivo. Our examples for this are a) C. elegans PAR polarization and b) germline specification.

ii)    Nuclear architecture is highly conserved among all vertebrate cells. We currently showing that the only known deviation from this pattern serves to improve vision in mammals.

iii)    We recently discovered that phase-separated RNA-rich protocells can spontaneously assemble in temperature gradients. We aim to show that these protocells can evolve life-like properties when exposed to appropriate physical selection pressures, a project funded by the VW foundation.

Dr. Anatol Fritsch

I'm a shared ELBE postdoctoral fellow between the Kreysing and the Hyman lab.My project is centered around the idea of understanding the spatial segregation of phase-separated condensates as a physical process. More specifically, to characterize and guide P-granule segregation during the first cell division of a C. elegans zygote, I use localized temperature gradients. This way, we  unravel the underlying physical nature of central developmental processes in-vivo.

Mrityunjoy Kar (Joy)

The illusive question of this century is “ how life has started on our planet Earth”.  The RNA world hypothesis remains a hallmark in 'origin of life' research despite very poor robustness and low reactivity of most model replicators studied so far. Here I am trying to understand how RNA molecules overcome various challenges to become the self-sustaining complex entity in presence of short peptides and other additives.

Juan Manuel Iglesias Artola
Predoc and BIF fellow

A quick glance around us will suffice to understand that life is everywhere. However, how did all get started? My PhD work is aimed at finding a possible answer to this question. In order to address this problem we make use of two physical principles to concentrate RNA and peptides: (1) thermal trapping and (2) coacervation. When combined together, thermal trapping and coacervation can be used to exert a selective pressure toward increasing complexity.

Matthäus Mittasch

I’m fascinated by the fundamental principles that drive seemingly uncoordinated molecules into spatially organized cells and tissues. To understand this myriad of self-organization, we need to include the physical principles into the equation, such as intracellular transport phenomena. 

Towards this end, we advocate a new biophysical methodology called focused-light induced cytoplasmic streaming (FLUCS), which make use of thermo-viscous flows. Specifically, we introduce well-defined flow perturbations to systematically dissect the role of hydrodynamic flows during embryogenesis. Moreover, with FLUCS we are able to actively measure material properties in living cells and even inside nuclei of developing embryos.

Heike Petzold

I am an enthusiastic Research Technician who has worked in a number of notable research labs. I have gained extensive experience and useful working skills in a wide range of research projects. Now I apply this knowledge to develop new methodologies that support ongoing experiments within a group. After helping to set up this lab, i) I keep the lab business running smoothly, II) I am interested in finding ways to change the optical properties of cells.

Kaushikaram Subramanian

My research addresses the optical properties the vertebrate retina, an incredibly cell-dense tissue with the photoreceptors located on its back. Rod photoreceptor nuclei, that account for near 80% of all nuclei in the mouse retina, are known to be inverted in all nocturnal mammal. My investigations elucidate how this nuclear architecture conveys imoroved image transmission in the mouse retina, ultimately providing enhanced visual perception under low light conditions.

Stefan Tassoulas
Master student

Life emerged from molecules that encoded genetic information as well as had catalytic activity to replicate themselves and perform other tasks but it is unclear how these molecules, from dilute conditions could come together to form life. My work revolves around demonstrating that accumulation in a thermophoretic pore of RNA reactants and products of the R3C ligases could illustrate a possible route for RNA to become more complex and generate modern day cells.

Current Lab Members

Name Position Email Phone
Antsipkin, Alexey Postdoc
Bhatnagar, Archit Predoc +49 351 210-2859
Fritsch, Anatol ELBE-Postdoc +49 351 210-2877
Iglesias Artola, Juan Manuel Predoc +49 351 210-2904
Kar, Mrityunjoy Postdoc +49 351 210-2482
Kreysing, Moritz Group Leader +49 351 210-1310
Seelbinder, Benjamin Postdoc
Subramanian, Kaushikaram Predoc +49 351 210-2945

General Contact Information

Max Planck Institute
of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
- Kreysing -

Pfotenhauerstr. 108
01307 Dresden

Phone +49 351 210-0