The Signal Transduction Group
Prof. Dr. Petra Knaus
We are looking for enthusiastic doctoral students with interest in the development of small molecule compounds to targeting cell surface receptors with a fundamental role in cell differentiation. Previous expertise in in silico drug/peptide design, signal transduction, biochemistry and cell biology would be appreciated.
While much is known on the 3D structure of the BMP receptor complex, there are still many open questions regarding the mode of activation within the multi-protein complex, leading to the sequential phosphorylation and activation of signaling molecules. Disease causing mutations in the receptor genes often lead to only marginal effects on direct signaling substrates. However, these alterations often accumulate at the level of gene transcription and thereby can result in major cell fate changes. Over the past years, we have developed numerous quantitative methods to determine single signaling events, have implemented crucial physiological triggers (e.g. biomechanics) and have analyzed the outcome by whole genome analyses. With this we are now seeking to develop screening platforms for in silico designed drugs to target disease causing receptor mutants to either revert their function to wildtype or enhance/dampen the signaling receptor activity.
For more information on the lab and the Institute, visit the lab's website.