University of Heidelberg

Boutros Lab: Signaling Networks / ERC DECODE

Signal transduction pathways and their integration into cellular networks play a key role for cell differentiation, pattern formation, and homeostasis. The ability to correctly receive and transmit molecular signals is crucial for all organisms. Perturbations leading to improper activation, for example through mutations, have severe consequences, such as the development of cancer in man. We are studying signaling systems using genetic and genomic analysis approaches. We pursue both experimental and computational approaches and study conserved developmental-oncogenic signaling pathways in cultured human cells and in model organisms.


Wnt signaling is an evolutionarily conserved signal transduction route that plays key roles during development, stem cell maintenance and human diseases. Aberrant activation of Wnt signaling, for example, has been linked to the development of colorectal cancer. We work on identifying and characterizing novel Wnt pathway components using genetic and genomic approaches in order to understand how Wnt signaling is regulated. In the past years, a particular focus of our studies has been on systematic screening approaches, novel routes how Wnt proteins are secreted and how signals are transmitted at the plasma membrane.


A second focus in our group is the application of large-scale genetic and genomic approaches, such as RNAi and CRISPR screening, to comprehensively characterize the interplay of genetic networks on a genome-wide scale. By characterizing the architecture and context-dependence of genetic networks we aim to better understand cell​ ​fate​ ​and​ ​to​ ​unravel​ ​the​ ​contribution​ ​of​ ​the genetic​ ​networks​ ​to​ ​organismal​ ​traits​ ​including​ ​diseases. We are studying ​genetic networks in their tissue context ​in vivo ​at single-cell resolution to address the question on how genetic networks adapt and change across tissues, developmental stages and upon intrinsic and extrinsic challenges.

Contact: E-Mail (Last update: 24/04/2024)