Stamatis Papathanasiou joins IMB as a Group Leader


21 April – The Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) is pleased to welcome Stamatis Papathanasiou as a new Group Leader. Stamatis joins us from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, USA, where he worked as a postdoctoral researcher. His research focuses on deciphering how errors during cell division could cause heritable transcriptional dysregulation and epigenetic instability, which can in turn contribute to cell senescence, ageing and cancer.

Cell division is necessary for organisms to grow and replace old cells with new ones. An important step in cell division is duplicating the cell’s DNA and distributing the two copies equally between the daughter cells so that each inherits a complete and accurate copy of the DNA from the parent cell. However, mistakes sometimes happen that result in the chromosomes being misaligned and distributed unequally between the daughter cells. Such mistakes can lead to the formation of abnormal structures called micronuclei, which form when a chromosome, or fragment of a chromosome, becomes isolated outside of the daughter cell’s nucleus after a cell division. Micronuclei are highly prone to DNA damage and chromosome rearrangements (where sections of chromosomes break off and are incorrectly joined together), which can contribute to cellular senescence and diseases such as cancer, even if they are reincorporated into the nucleus after the next mitosis.

Stamatis is interested in studying how mitotic errors and the formation of abnormal nuclear structures alters chromatin organisation and gene expression in the affected chromosomes, and whether these effects persist in subsequent generations of daughter cells. In order to do this, he plans to develop innovative, high-throughput methods to link phenotype to function at the single-cell level and cellular systems to track mis-segregated chromosomes. This research could ultimately help us to better understand the causes of ageing and the development of age-related diseases.

We warmly welcome Stamatis to IMB and look forward to hearing more about his research findings in the coming years.

Further details

Stamatis Papathanasiou is a Group Leader at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Mainz. Further information about research in the Papathanasiou lab can be found at www.imb.de/papathanasiou.

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on the cutting-edge fields of epigenetics, genome stability, ageing and RNA biology. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de.

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its Perspectives Programme Plus 3 and its Exploration Grants, the Foundation supports independent junior group leaders. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), the department of life sciences at the University of Mainz, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.bistiftung.de

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management

Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Email: press(at)imb.de