Jürgen Knoblich

Picture of the Group Leader Jürgen Knoblich

Stem cells and asymmetric cell division

  • Stem cells have the unique ability to divide asymmetrically and generate both self-renewing and differentiating daughter cells. In the Knoblich lab, we use Drosophila and mouse genetics, as well as 3D culture models derived  from human ES or iPS cells to identify the molecular mechanisms that control asymmetric cell division and allow cells to create daughter cells of such dramatically different properties.
    In Drosophila, asymmetric cell divisions are established via the segregation of cell fate determinants into only one of the two daughter cells and identifying the mechanism of this polarized segregation has been a key focus of the lab. Defects in asymmetric cell division can lead to the formation of transplantable tumors in flies and understanding the mechanism of stem cell derived tumor formation is a more recent goal. For this, we use in vivo transgenic RNAi to analyze stem cell self renewal on a genome-wide level and apply in-utero electroporation to study homologs of the identified genes in vertebrate neural stem cells. To transfer our knowledge from animal models to the developing human brain and to link it to human neurological disorders, we have developed a 3D culture method that allows us to model the early steps of human brain development starting from either hES or iPS cells.

  • Contact:

    Jürgen Knoblich
    Senior Scientist & Deputy Scientific Director
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    Lea Klement
    Assistant to Jürgen Knoblich
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    Sonja Paulick (currently on maternity leave)
    Assistant to Jürgen Knoblich
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Selected Publications

Bagley, JA., Reumann, D., Bian, S., Lévi-Strauss, J., Knoblich, JA. (2017). Fused cerebral organoids model interactions between brain regions. Nat Methods. 14(7):743-751 (abstract)
Lancaster, MA., Corsini, NS., Wolfinger, S., Gustafson, EH., Phillips, AW., Burkard, TR., Otani, T., Livesey, FJ., Knoblich, JA. (2017). Guided self-organization and cortical plate formation in human brain organoids. Nat Biotechnol. (abstract)
Eroglu, E., Burkard, TR., Jiang, Y., Saini, N., Homem, CC., Reichert, H., Knoblich, JA. (2014). SWI/SNF complex prevents lineage reversion and induces temporal patterning in neural stem cells. Cell. 156(6):1259-73 (abstract)
Homem, CC., Steinmann, V., Burkard, TR., Jais, A., Esterbauer, H., Knoblich, JA. (2014). Ecdysone and mediator change energy metabolism to terminate proliferation in Drosophila neural stem cells. Cell. 158(4):874-88 (abstract)
Lancaster, MA., Renner, M., Martin, CA., Wenzel, D., Bicknell, LS., Hurles, ME., Homfray, T., Penninger, JM., Jackson, AP., Knoblich, JA. (2013). Cerebral organoids model human brain development and microcephaly. Nature. 501(7467):373-9 (abstract)

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