Structure-function relations in ion channels with focus on regulatory lipidation and lipid-gating mechanisms. High precision control of ion channel function by photopharmacology and chemo-optogenetics. Calcium signaling within plasma membrane micro/nanojunctions.
Funded projects focus on i) identification of regulatory protein-lipid interactions in TRPC channels; ii) photopharmacological and chemo-chemogenetic targeting of TRPC and Orai channels; iii) development of strategies for high-precision light-mediated control of immune cell functions. iv) elucidation signaling concepts in ER/SR-plasma membrane-organelle contacts (micro/nanojunctions).
is a biochemist and senior scientist. Having a strong background in chemical biology of peptides, she is currently involved in establishing new tools to target TRPC channels and store-operated (Orai) channels. Her projects aim at advanced technologies for light-mediated control over tumor-infiltrating immune cells. A central topic of her research is the design of photoswitchable peptides and peptidomimetics to modulate ion channel functions and to develop new therapeutic applications.
is a biochemist, joining the team as a postdoctoral researcher. With her experience in protein biochemistry and fluorescence microscopy she contributes to projects aimed at understanding the role of TRPC channels in calcium signaling and in calcium-transcription coupling in immune cells. Current projects are focused on deciphering TRPC-mediated calcium signaling processes in mast cells and in tumor cells by use of photopharmacology.
Oleksandra (Sasha) Tiapko
is a postdoctoral researcher in the team and uses electrophysiological methods as well as and fluorescence microscopy to study structure-functional relations in TRPC3 channels. She is running a project on the identification of ligand binding sites in TRPC channels and on deciphering activation mechanisms in these channels. In addition, she is involved in characterization of new photopharmachological tools that allow for high precision spatiotemporal control over TRPC3/6/7 activity and its (patho)physiological role in the brain, specifically in hippocampal neurons.
Hazel Erkan is a bioengineer, who completed her master's degree in the field of chemical biology. She is currently in the 2rd year of her PhD studies, which are focused on the identification of regulatory lipid coordination sites in TRPC channels using structure-guided mutagenesis combined with functional characterization of channels by whole-cell patch clamp recordings and optical lipid clamp strategies. She is also involved in the design and development of novel lipid photoswitches.
Denis Krivić received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Chemistry from the Faculty of Chemistry and Technology in Split, Croatia. He is currently in his 2nd year of PhD studies. His research interests revolve around new (photo)pharmacological strategies for manipulating ion channels in tumor cells (glioblastoma) but also in tumor-infiltrating immune cells (mast cells, macrophages, NK cells). He employs various imaging techniques, including Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy for real time recording of local Ca2+ signalling and degranulation events in immune cells. In addition, he contributes to computational approaches for prediction of channel-ligand interactions by molecular dockin.
is a technician (MTA) in the lab. She provides competent assistance in tissue preparations, cell culture and molecular biology. In addition, she supports the team with all graphical issues for presentations and publications.
is a technical assistant and bachelor student in Molecular Biology. He provides competent assistance in the laboratory and supports the team in their current research projects with his experience, focusing on molecular cloning, site directed mutagenesis, quantitative expression profiling, genotyping and general molecular-biological methods.