We study striated muscle function from the molecular, via the cellular, to the organismal level. The smallest contractile unit, the sarcomere, is investigated to shed light on fundamental mechanisms of muscle contraction. Gene regulatory networks are studied that define the fate of a muscle cell. For the terminally differentiated cells that make up the skeletal and heart muscle, the maintenance of their complex cytoarchitecture, as well as the regulation of protein turnover and disposal of damaged or mutant proteins, is especially relevant as is the response to changes in demand via mechanosignalling.
We study a particular type of stem cell, the satellite cell, in the maintenance of skeletal muscle and investigate the interaction between muscle cells and their surrounding tissue niche during the formation of limb muscle and the establishment of contacts between muscle and nerve cells. We have a strong translational outreach and try to find out more about the underlying causes of different types of heart and skeletal muscle diseases. Understanding the molecular basis of disease enables us to carry out high throughput screens for potential drugs that can halt disease progression. Characteristic for our approach is the use of cutting-edge biophysical methodology for our experiments and the extremely interactive environment between the research groups.