Group Leader

Dr. Zhike Zi
Dr. Zhike Zi
Research Group Leader
Phone: (030) 8413 1660
Room: 0.212.1
Links: Zi lab

Cell Signaling Dynamics

Cell Signaling Dynamics

Biological networks are complex and dynamic systems that enable living cells to sense and respond to changes in their immediate environment. Although the main components of biological networks have been studied in detail, it remains unclear how cells decode, integrate cell signals and make cell decisions. The Cell Signaling Dynamics group combines both mathematical modeling and experimental approaches to unravel the mechanisms of molecular networks by which extrinsic and intrinsic signals control cell proliferation and differentiation at a systems level.

Research projects

1. Systems Biology of TGF-β Signaling Dynamics

Funding: BMBF e:Bio - Modul III - Nachwuchsgruppe: SyBioT, 2014-2019

The transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling is one of the most important signaling events as it regulates many cellular responses including cell proliferation, migration, and death. It is well known that TGF-β has different roles in the regulation of cell proliferation depending on the specific cellular context. This observation raises an important question: how the same TGF-β signal can induce very different signaling responses in different cellular contexts? Solving this question is crucial to understanding many dysfunctions of TGF-β signaling. To address this question, we use a systems biology approach to investigate spatial and temporal dynamics of TGF-β signaling in different cell types and in single cells. We apply quantitative experimental approaches and develop mathematical models to understand the molecular mechanisms by which TGF-β controls different cellular responses depending on specific cellular contexts.

    

2. Systems analysis of the adaptation in TGF-β signaling

Funding: DFG Research Training Group, CSB - Computational Systems Biology, 2015-2019

3. The control of TGF-β signaling with optogenetics approach

The invention of optogenetics provides excellent tools to control cell signal activation with light. We are using synthetic biology approaches to establish optogenetics systems to activate TGF-β pathway with light.

4. Differential regulation of DNA damage responses in human primary tissue cells

 
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