Research Focus

RNA molecules are not only short-lived carriers of information encoding proteins, but fulfill a variety of essential cellular functions ranging from enzymatic activities to providing large-scale scaffolds to intricate riboregulatory mechanisms controlling cell signaling and homeostasis. Despite their simple composition of only four building blocks, RNAs, like proteins, adopt complex 3D structures that are essential for their cellular function. The function of RNA is thus determined by both its sequence and its folding.
Our group investigates how structure formation affects the function and interactome of mRNAs in human cells, bacteria and viruses. We use structural probing and massively parallel reporter assays coupled with next generation sequencing to decipher RNA folding and its functional consequences. In addition, we use and develop high-throughput methods to study the RNA-binding preferences of proteins with the aim of understanding how RNA-protein interactions shape cellular decisions. In a second line of research, we characterize the interactions between RNA and small molecules to learn how to effectively modulate RNA function and to inform RNA-targeted drug discovery campaigns.

mRNA interactome

We are working on the identification and characterization of mRNA structures that determine post-transcriptional gene regulation by interaction with proteins.

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Viral RNA structures

RNA viruses exploit RNA structure formation to synchronize replication with transcription and translation of viral mRNAs and proteins within their minimal genomes.

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Mitochondrial gene expression

The group of Benedict Tan investigates the intricate coupling of transcription with RNA processing and translation in the cell’s powerhouse – the mitochondrion.

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Group Spring 2024

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We are always looking for motivated and enthusiastic students.
Please inquire for internships, practical year, bachelor and master theses.