Helge Großhans

Helge studied Biotechnology at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany. He entered the world of RNA biology during his PhD at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, where he worked with Dr. Georgios Simos and Dr. Ed Hurt on tRNA biogenesis and nuclear export in yeast. Moving up the ‘evolutionary ladder’, Helge joined the lab of Dr. Frank Slack at Yale University to work on miRNAs (then still termed stRNAs for small temporal RNAs) in C. elegans. In 2005, Helge accepted a junior group leader position at the FMI, and was promoted to senior group leader with tenure in 2011. The work of his team focused initially on miRNA function and regulation, but has subsequently diversified to other areas of RNA and developmental biology. Thus, Helge’s current research interests include developmental clocks (with support from an ERC Advanced Grant) and posttranscriptional mechanisms of (stem) cell fate control in worms and mammals (with support from the SNF and the National Competence Center for Research “RNA and Disease”). Across projects, Helge is particularly interested in understanding molecular mechanisms as they operate in physiological contexts.


Upadhyay, Abhishek_8244Abhishek Upadhyay

Abhi is from central India. He obtained a bachelor’s degree (BEng) in Biotechnology Engineering. At the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, he focused on the Developmental Biology of social amoebae. He went on to receive a full scholarship from University of Hong Kong (HKU) for a research-based masters (MPhil) in Marine Biology, performing experiments on intertidal oyster larvae and shell proteins. He took up Evolutionary Biology during a stint at Wits University, Jo’burg. For his PhD in Theoretical Systems Chronobiology at Humboldt University of Berlin (HU) in collaboration with Heidelberg University, he mathematically modelled the mechanisms of molecular switches and rhythms in the circadian clock of a filamentous fungi. In the Großhans lab, he aims to combine experiment and theory to further explore oscillations in the developmental clock of roundworm C. elegans.

Stephen Methot

Stephen is from Vancouver, Canada. He obtained his BSc studying Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. He then went on to do a PhD in Experimental Medicine at McGill university in Montreal, Quebec. During his PhD he studied the molecular mechanisms that generate a diverse antibody repertoire during the immune response. Wanting to switch gears, he moved to the lab of Susan Gasser to study chromatin regulation in C. elegans. This work got him interested in how chromatin is actively regulated in cells, and how this can modulate dynamic transcriptional programs. In the lab, he will try to address these questions using C. elegans developmental oscillations as a model system.

Morale Moya, Lucas_6866Lucas Morales Moya

Lucas is from a small town in La Mancha, Spain. He studied Biotechnology at the Universidad of Valencia and obtained an MSc in Biophysics from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He is interested in studying developmental time from a mathematical perspective. In his PhD, he studied how spatially repeated structures, such ribs and vertebrae, emerge from temporally rhythmic gene expression. Following his desire to know how biological melodies are composed, he joined the lab to study how time is encoded in gene regulatory networks to ensure each developmental event is played in the right order at the right time to form a proper multicellular organism.

gypas-foivos_6778Foivos Gypas

Foivos is from Corfu, Greece. He holds a diploma in Electronics and Computer Engineering from the Technical University of Crete and an MSc in Bioinformatics from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He performed his Phd in Bioinformatics at the University of Basel, where he worked on computational methods to study RNA processing. Foivos is developing software and pipelines to analyze data ranging from RNA-seq, poly(A)-seq and ribo-seq to single cells and third generation sequencing technologies (PacBio, Oxford Nanopore). At the same time, he is collaborating with experimental biologists to help them with the analysis and interpretation of their data. You can visit his personal website here.

Nahar, Smita_5928Smita Nahar

Smita has studied Biochemistry in her Bachelor’s and Master’s at the University of Delhi, India. She then pursued her PhD at CSIR – Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi, in miRNA therapeutics, where she developed novel tools to target aberrantly expressed miRNAs in cancer. Fascinated by the role of these tiny regulators, she is now interested to explore the importance of their stability in shaping development and mechanisms that promote their turnover in C. elegans.

Gudipatti, Rajani 0155Rajani Kanth Gudipatti

Rajani is from Anantapur, India, and studied Microbiology during his Bachelor of Science. He did his PhD on transcription termination and quality control of RNA using budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model organism at CGM, CNRS, Gif Sur Yvette. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the lab and is interested in understanding the role of Argonaute protein complexes in reproduction.

Welte, Thomas_4573Thomas Welte

Thomas studied Medicine at the University of Freiburg. He received his MD in membrane protein biochemistry. Having worked as a clinician specializing in nephrology for three years, he is now a postdoctoral scientist in the Grosshans Lab. Thomas is interested in Trim71 mediated gene regulation in embryonic stem cells. Thomas uses methods like Ribosome Profiling and CRAC to identify new Trim71 target genes.

PhD Students

van der Does, Marit_7260Marit van der Does

Marit obtained her Bsc and Msc at the Technical University of Delft and Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, where she studied Nanobiology. During her studies, she focused on how to use physics and mathematics to study biology. Further, she joined the Vienna Biocenter summer school, and did an internship at Lumicks in Amsterdam where she gained more experience in microscopy and image analysis. During her PhD, she uses these tools to study the developmental timing of C. elegans.

Woelk, Michaela_7319Michaela Wölk

Michaela studied Molecular Biosciences at the Centre for Organismal Studies of the University of Heidelberg. Following an internship at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Barcelona, she worked at the DKFZ in Heidelberg, writing her master thesis and graduating with an MSc degree in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology. In October 2019, she joined the Grosshans Lab as a PhD student focusing on the regulation of oscillatory gene expression during C. elegans development.

Graf, Maike_6152Maike Graf

Maike obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Molecular Biosciences from the Centre for Organismal Studies (COS), University of Heidelberg. During her Master’s, she focused on Developmental & Stem Cell Biology and investigated asymmetric stem cell division in Germline Stem Cells for her Masters Project. She further gathered experience in the field of Developmental Biology by completing internships at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Harvard Stem Cell Center. In our lab, she is now a PhD student interested in the functional and spatial organization of gene expression oscillations during the development of C. elegans.

Azzi, Chiara_3223Chiara Azzi

Chiara completed her MSc in Molecular and Industrial Biotechnology at University of Bologna, Italy. She was a visiting scientist at EMBL-Monterotondo (Italy) and took part of the International Summer School at Institute of Molecular Biology, Mainz (Germany). She is now a PhD student in the Grosshans Lab and she is interested in the molecular mechanisms that control the development of C. elegans and specifically the role of components of the late heterochronic timer.

Kracmarova, Jana_5256Jana Kracmarova

Jana obtained her Master’s degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics of Eukaryotes at the Charles University in Prague. In her diploma project in the group of Michal Kubelka, IAPG AS CR, she focused on the mechanisms that regulate cytoplasmic polyadenylation in mammalian oocytes. She further broadened her knowledge of RNA biology during her internship in the group of Sonia Lopez de Quinto at the School of Biosciences, Cardiff, UK. Jana joined the Grosshans Lab as a PhD student in October 2017. Besides doing science, she likes to eat, iron and optimize.


Neagu, Anca_3764Anca Neagu

Anca holds a BSc in Chemistry-Biology from the West University of Timisoara (Romania) and a MSc in Molecular Biology from the University of Basel (Switzerland). As an independent and meticulous team member, Anca supports scientific experiments and is responsible for maintaining the lab stocks and resources.

Kunzer, Kathrin_0843Kathrin Kunzer

Kathrin Kunzer is from Germany and joined the Grosshans lab in 2015 as a lab technician. She finished her apprenticeship as a laboratory technician in biology at F.Hoffmann-La Roche in Basel. Kathrin supports PhD students and Postdocs in the lab and is responsible for the lab organization.

Xu, Lan 5749Lan Xu

Lan studied TCM in College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China. She received her MD and did her postdoctoral research, studying electrical properties of cardiac muscle modified by various pharmacological agents at the level of individual cells, in the USA. She joined FMI in 1996 as a research associate, focusing initially on mouse models of motoneuron disease. In 2014, she joined the FMI C. elegans Facility and since 2016, Lan shares appointments between the Facility and the Grosshans Lab. She works alongside PhD students and postdocs to carry out experiments for their projects and she trains people to do microinjection for C. elegans transgenesis.