International Symposium organized by the Students of the Graduate School of Life Sciences

    Confirmed Speakers

    Keynote Speaker

    Due to unforseen problems, Metthew DeLisa was unable to come. We are happy to announce that Ben Van Houten was happy to fill in.
    Metthew DeLisa
    Cornell University, New York, USA
    http://www.<wbr />

    The DeLisa Research Group (DLRG) aims to engineer the protein machinery of simple bacteria for solving complex problems in biology and medicine.

    They focus on the molecular machines of protein biosynthesis both as a toolbox for the discovery, design and manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals and as targets for reprogramming cellular physiology. One approach in their laboratory is to exploit untapped mechanistic features of existing cellular machinery such as intrinsic protein quality control mechanisms that ensure correct folding and assembly of native and non-native proteins. A second related approach is to engineer microbial cells with unnatural protein machinery, thereby expanding the repertoire of useful biological and chemical functions far beyond those bestowed by nature.

    Ben Van Houten
    Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh, USA

    Dr. Van Houten's group studies the structure and function of DNA repair enzymes, the global responses to stress and the consequences of mitochondrial DNA damage.


    Faulty DNA repair can promote mutations, aging, cancer and cell death. The process by which protein components of repair detect damaged or modified bases within DNA is an important but poorly understood type of protein-DNA interaction. The cell contains a series of pathways designed to protect its DNA from environmental and endogenous damage.


    UvrA and UvrB proteins are believed to recognize damage-induced distortion in the DNA helix rather than the lesion per se. However, detailed studies of the kinetics, thermodynamics and structures of the Uvr proteins have been limited due to their instability. The long-term goal is to have a complete understanding of how structural perturbations induced by specific DNA lesions are detected and removed by the NER machinery at the atomic level. Most recently we have began to extend our studies to similar proteins found in humans.


    Mitochondria represent an important target of reactive oxygen and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) appears to be an early and sensitive marker of this stress. Many human diseases are associated with reactive oxygen including cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases.

    Confirmed Speakers

    Patrick Cramer
    MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany , Germany
    Combining structural biology with functional genomics to understand the molecular mechanisms of gene transcription and the principles of genomic regulation in eukaryotic cells. Beside integrated structural biology of gene transcription and complementary functional studies to unravel the architecture of large complexes involved in transcription, the Cramer group develops functional genomics methods and computational approaches to unravel the cellular mechanisms of genomic regulation.

    Victor de Lorenzo
    Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Madrid, Spain
    Professor de Lorenzo and his lab are investigating the production of biological agents for biosensing and degrading chemical waste using the soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida.

    Holger Görtlitz
    MPI for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany
    The group’s research focuses on the mechanisms, ecology and evolution of sensory perception and auditory-guided behaviour, using echolocating bats and eared moths as a model system. Their overall scientific objective is to understand the function of sensory systems and their consequences for ecological and evolutionary processes. In their research, they study bats and moths as two model systems for complex and simple auditory processing and auditory-guided behaviour.

    Ana Luisa Piña
    Experimental Neurosurgery, Charite Medical University, Berlin, Germany
    The research of Dr. Piña focus on the effects of neurotrophic factors (in particular angiogenic and antiangiogenic) during the development, aging and disease of the nervous system. Recently she has started a project to study the influence of dancing and meditation on brain plasticity.

    Neil Gow
    FAAM School of Medical Sciences Institute of Medical Sciences Foresterhill University of Aberdeen, UK

    Professor Gow's research is focussed on (i) the molecular genetics of cell wall biosynthesis in pathogenic fungi - in particular the genetics of glycosylation and the fungus-host interaction in relation to immune recognition and function, (ii) chitin synthesis and the response to antifungal agents; (iii) directional growth responses of fungal cells; (iv) the virulence properties of medically important fungal species; (v) the evolution, genome biology and genotyping of Candida species.

    Rafael Henrique Nóbrega
    Departament of Morphology , São Paulo State University , Botucatu, Brazil

    We aimed to study spermatogonial stem cell niche in zebra(fish), focusing on endocrine and paracrine signals which regulates spermatogonial fate. In this context, two signaling system appears to have an evolutionary conserved role in regulating male germ line stem cell proliferation/differentiation, anti-Müllerian hormone (Amh), a Tgfβ family member, and insulin-like growth factor 3 (Igf3).We tried to unravel the role of these growth factors on spermatogonial stem cell niche and how they cross-talk each other using zebrafish as experimental model.