My laboratory studies how transcription factors read the genomic code to toggle the switches that turn genes on and off to give cells their identity. We use structural analyses, biochemical assays, genomics and cell fate reprogramming in our research. The new knowledge gleaned from these analyses is the applied to re-engineer driver molecules that change cell states in order to more effectively manipulate cells in a dish. By protein engineering, we can switch and drastically improve the function of factors the give cells new identities. To advance these efforts, we devised a method for the directed molecular evolution in mammalian to identify artificially evolved and enhanced transcription factors (eTFs). Ongoing projects will focus to apply this platform in lineage reprogramming and the differentiation of pluripotent cells to push the boundaries for the production of functional cells for the study of diseases and regenerative therapies.
I seek to recruit graduate students to join us in these endeavors supported by attractive post-graduate student fellowships of up to HK$309,600 (approximately US$39,700) per year.
Graduate student projects
1) Direct transdifferentiation of somatic cells to neural stem cells with re-engineered factors 2) Technologies for the directed molecular evolution in mammalian cells 3) Sequence-structure-function analysis of engineered ‘super TFs’ 4) Evaluation of cancer mutations in cell fate reprogramming and survival
About the PI and the lab:
Ralf Jauch joined the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Hong Kong as Associate Professor in 2018. He did his undergraduate studies at the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena, Germany, and the University of Manchester and obtained his PhD degree in 2005 at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. In 2006, he joined the Genome Institute of Singapore, A*STAR, and stayed for seven years as a PostDoc and Research Scientist. From 2013-2018, he was a Principal Investigator at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences, where he helped to set up the GIBH- Max Planck Center for Regenerative Biomedicine. The laboratory currently has nine members from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Germany, India and the Philippines.