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Beyond solid understanding of the fundamental biological and physical-chemical principles, modern molecular biology requires students to quickly become a part of the research enterprise. My goal is to both equip the students with a solid knowledge and wide range of the contemporary experimental strategies as well as help them learn to plan, perform, critically analyze and interpret the current research. Continuous progress is the defining character of modern science, and I seek to instill into students the feeling of personal involvement with the curiosity-driven, inquisitive nature of the actual research projects in the institute.
Coordinated assembly, localization and precise regulation of enzymatic activities define the fidelity of cellular responses to signals from the environment. Yet, how exactly the cells control enzymatic activities in space and time to ensure the adaptive character of cellular signaling remains unclear. In the lab, we are studying the biochemical architecture of signaling networks controlled by protein kinases Akt and mTOR. We are trying to understand how these key enzymes orchestrate cellular anabolic pathways, and how their disregulation can lead to human disease, such as diabetes or cancer. To address these questions, we use a combination of biochemical and advanced imaging techniques and develop tools to visualize and manipulate the localization and activity of signaling enzymes in live cells.
Ivan received his PhD from the University of Heidelberg for his studies of enzymatic regulation in live cells with Philippe Bastiaens at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). His postdoctoral work with Ron Vale at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) further developed his interest in visualizing cellular signaling. Ivan continues his studies of intracellular enzymology as a group leader at the Max Perutz Labs since 2012.