Research at the Gene Center is focused on two key problems in the life sciences, genome maintenance and the regulation of gene expression at all levels – from the transcription of genes into messenger RNAs in the nucleus to their translation into protein in the cytoplasm. These processes and the intervening steps are controlled by a multitude of mechanisms, which collectively ensure that the right amount of protein is present in the right place within the cell to exert its function. At the Gene Center, we study these problems using a broad range of methods including biochemical, cellular and genetic approaches. Structural biology plays a prominent role, from classical X-ray crystallography to cryo electron microscopy, which is employed to unravel large protein, protein-DNA, and protein-RNA complexes. The techniques required for studying very large biomolecular complexes are highly demanding, and few labs have the necessary equipment and know-how world-wide. More recently, the Gene Center has broadened its portfolio to study regulatory gene networks in the development and homeostasis of intact organisms, using a combination of genomic, computational and systems-biological approaches and a variety of animal models, including yeast, fly, mouse, and pig.

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