Molecular Membrane Biology
Biological membranes are composed of thousands of interacting proteins and lipids. In fact, membrane proteins and lipids have co-evolved since the origin of life. Owing to their complex composition, biological membranes are extremely challenging to study. Our central interest is the crosstalk of lipids and proteins for the homeostasis of biological membranes. Which molecular events are underlying lipid induced cellular stress responses? Do, for example, lipids modulate general protein degradation? To address such questions appropriately, the lab follows a strictly interdisciplinary approach, combining biochemistry, biophysics and cell biology.
Saturated and unsaturated fatty acids have gained a celebrity status and are referred to as ‘bad’ and ‘good’ fats. It is well established that a continuous misbalance of these dietary fats induces massive cellular stress responses that can ultimately result in cell death. Until know, the molecular events underlying these phenomena are not understood. With quantitative lipidomics coming of age, membrane biochemistry is gaining a new focus. Now is the time to address fundamental questions regarding membrane complexity and function.