DEVELOPMENTAL - Heidelberg University

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Major Developmental BiologyDEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGYDevelopmentalBiology is one ofthe fastest growing biologicaldisciplines in thelast years. It isthe basic science to understand humandevelopmet,cancer, and aging and it opens perspective for regenerative medicine.Researchin Developmental BiologyThe central issue in developmental biology is how from a single cell (the fertilized ovum) complex cellular networks are formedthat finally can give rise to the highest levels oforganismic complexity. Understanding theways, how this fundamental biologic problemis solved by Nature is a topic of many projectsof developmental biologists within the Heidelberg research community. Current research topics in Heidelberg include early pattern formation, the development of cell typesand organ systems including the nervous system and plant development, the evolution ofdevelopmental mechanism, aging and senescence, and stem cells in developmentalbiology and medicine.Many Heidelberg research groups arefocused on the field of pattern formation,i.e. the communication between cells and1within cells. This is a central issue in developmental biology with major relations toquantitative and modeling approaches, andresearchers from Heidelberg have made important contributions to this field. Extensivecommunication between cells is required despite the fact that the form of an organism isalready preprogrammed in its DNA. Pathways of communication are mediated bysignaling molecules, which are released bysignaling centers that organize other cellswithin a tissue or an organism. Signaling centers play a fundamental role in embryogenesis and regeneration, and they are disturbed or miss-activated in many types ofcancer. The origins of individual organ systems during development, organogenesis,also involves general rules that can be genetically dissected in various model systems. The-

se general rules form a conceptual frameworkand it is a challenge to model them on a theoretical level and to understand on the molecular level how they contribute to the origin ofthe many thousands of cell types that makeup a complex organism. This promising twistbetween theory and experiment is a majortopic of our new research groups modelingdevelopmental processes. The developmentalapproach also opens new perspectives forclassical fields in biology: Comparative genomics and the analyses of developmental mechanisms in a broad range of species fromworms to human revealed the existence ofbasic developmental mechanisms and we begin to understand the evolution of organisms on mechanistic level. With the realization that our genome is far more plastic thanpreviously suspected, such studies are alsocritical to understand the long-term outlookof our own species. But also the immensecomplexity of the nervous system gets unraveled: In the last years, it was found that duringneurogenesis many of the molecules andmechanisms used in other organ systems alsoact in the formation of the nervous system.Developmental biologists require and receive training in a broad spectrum of methods from molecular cell biology. Approaches and Methods include cellular and microscopic techniques (life cell imaging, fluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopy, FRET and FRAP analyses), quantitative and spatial analysis of mRNA and proteins, techniques for the expression of geneproducts in embryos, microinjection, cell andtissue transplantation in embryos, wholemount in situ hybridization, use of syntheticmRNA, promoter analysis, transgenesis, protein-protein and protein–DNA interactions,DNA foot-printing, mutagenesis screens,bioinformatics, modeling computational analysis based on spatial expression data and more.2

Bachelorstudies towardsDevelopmentalBiologystudy of Developmental Biology. The undergraduate course Methods of MolecularCell Biology offers an introduction into theworking methods of bioscience labs. Herestudents will learn fundamental skills for biochemical, molecular biological and microbiological work. In the undergraduate courseThere are two Bachelor study programsin Biology in Heidelberg: Biology and Molecular Experimental Physiology and Developmental Biology students will conduct basicCell Biology. Both programs are suited for theexperiments in Neurobiology and DevelopMajor program in Developmental Biology. Heremental Biology: students will study the unliwe give students information about coursesmited regenerative capacities of freshwaterand lectures that are especially relevant forpolyps, the fertilization and early developthe study of Developmental Biology.ment of frogs, and the embryogenesis of astchicken.1 Year: The BasicsIn the undergraduate lectures 1 and 2,3rd Year: Towards Development Biostudents will be introduced to general biologilogycal concepts that every biologist must know:With the ‘cycle lectures’ relating to theCell biology, Systematic and Evolution. Oftopics Molecular Cell Biology, Biochemistry andspecial importance for the study of Developmental Biology are the courses 'Zoology A Molecular Biology, students are invited to deeB'. Here students can learn how the different pen their knowledge in fundamental subjectsof molecular biosciences. The following cyclebody plans have become increasingly morelecture is focused on Developmental Biology:complex and powerful in the course of animal evolution, e.g. how the simple nervous of Cell Biology 4: Molecular DevelopmentalBiology / Genetic Model Systems. Hereworms developed into the complicated huthe students will get an introduction to geneticman brain, or how appendages and othernovelties did arise during evolution. The non- model systems where major discoveries inbiological minor subjects will demand a great Developmental Biology have been made, e.g.the worm, the fly, the fish, the frog and thedeal of time for students in the first year ofmouse. This lecture is followed in by a coursestudy (Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics).For the study of Developmental Biology these (HP-F) entitled Genetic Model Systems:subjects are important, because Developmen- Fish, Fly, Frog, Mouse and Polyp. Thiscourse will introduce the beauty and strengthtal Biology is an interdisciplinary field of reof the various genetic model systems used insearch. Students have to be chiefly familiarDevelopmental Biology today. The course willwith Physical Chemistry and Chemistry inbe accompanied by a seminar introducing theorder to get a deeper understanding Biochelatest literature. Both, the lecture and themistry and Molecular Biology.course are required to enter the Major prondgram in Developmental biology, although2 Year: Introduction into the Mostudents are encouraged to hear other lectureslecular Biosciencesor participate in other courses and seminars.In the undergraduate lectures 3 4 students will be introduced to Biochemistry, Mo- In the 3rd year students should also take thelecular Biology, Cell and Developmental Bio- opportunity to get to know developmentalbiology in work groups in main courses (3logy as well as Physiology of animals andweeks full time). Here, 3rd year students canplants. For these lectures for students shouldfind ‘their work group’, in which they wouldrevise the subject with the help of to carry out the Bachelor thesis.All subjects are of vital significance for any3

MasterDevelopmentalBiologyStudents can choose one preferred majorin our Master study program. Teaching language will be English and eight Majors areoffered in 2007/08:Cancer BiologyDevelopmental BiologyEvolution and EcologyInfectious DiseasesMolecular and Cellular BiologyMol., Cell. & Dev. Biology of PlantsNeuroscienceSystems Biology.Our study program will offer studentsoptimal conditions to access graduate programs in their relevant research areas. Theregular time for the Master study program aretwo years and leads to the degree MSc Molecular Bioscience, Major Developmental Biology. It should be emphasized that theprogram is organized in a way that eager students can also pass it in only 3 semesters sothat they can enter PhD study program earlier.Admission. European students can apply until the 15th of July 2007 for a place inthe major Developmental Biology. For NonEuropean applicants there is an extra application procedure starting at the 15th of April.We recommend that you choose an additionalmajor in case Developmental Biology is overbooked. In each major program a ranked listof applicants will be compile according tothree selection criteria: Academic results forBachelor Degree (max. 15 points), specialqualifications (max. 15 points), result of a selection interview (max. 30 points).Approval notifications will be sent out bythe end of August. The course of study willcommence with the beginning of the wintersemester 2007/2008, starting October 1st.the course for all Masters students: Frontiersin Biosciences 1 and 2.Each module is made up of lectures andtutorials as well as a course (three weeks) withan accompanying seminar. The lecturers whotake these modules also offer the major modules in 2nd - 4th semester. Students in Developmental Biology choose an accompanyingcourse and seminars strengthening and deepening their knowledge in Molecular Biologyand Cell Biology with a focus on methodsrequired for Developmental Biology. We offertwo courses Advanced Molecular Biologyfor Developmental Biologists (RNATechniques) and Advanced Biochemistryfor Developmental Biologists (Recombinant Protein in Bacterial and EukaryoticExpression Systems). These courses arenecessary to get familiar with a number offundamental techniques frequently used inthe analysis of developmental processes, e.g.the injection of synthetic RNA into eggs andembryos or the expression of recombinantsignalling molecules in eukaryotic expressionsystems2nd Semester: Focus BiosciencesTwo modules in second semester offer anintensive program in modern DevelopmentalBiology. The two modules Focus Biosciences 1 and 2 provide a broad program thatdeals with Developmental Biology from thelevel of molecules and cells to the level ofwhole organisms. It includes lectures, tutorials, courses and seminars. The courses areorganized in such a manner that students willget familiar with a broad spectrum of methods used in Developmental Biology, e.g.advanced life cell imaging technology (confocal and 2-photon laser scanning microscopy,FRET and FRAP analyses), techniques forthe expression of gene products in embryos,promoter analysis, transgenesis, protein-protein and protein–DNA interactions, bioinformatics, image analysis, and modeling approaches. We will also offer a course on the evolution of developmental mechanisms (Laboratoire Arago of the CNRS and Université1st Semester: Frontiers in BioscienPierre et Marie Curie (Paris) in Banyuls-surcesmer) as well as courses on human genetics, i.e.The Masters Degree consists of seven on mammalian fertilization and on the immodules, which students can complete in 3-4portance of developmental mutations in husemesters. The first two modules are part ofman diseases. In our lectures we will give an4

overview on the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in the regulation of development aswell as on the molecular mechanisms of stemcell differentiation in normal developmentand cancer.3rd Semester: Modul Biolab,Working in Developmental Biologyalso participate in a LSH program (Life Science for Health) offering a structured overseasresidence in 3rd semester. In this program,students completing a Masters degree in 'Molecular Biosciences' can attend courses/modules at the Leiden University Medical Centre (Leiden, Holland) or the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm, Sweden).The modules in the 3rd semester are labcourses where students work for six weeks inlabs of one the Developmental Biology workgroups. In the Developmental Biology program a broad spectrum of groups from various research institutions (i.e. Institute forZoology, the EMBL, the DKFZ, and the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe) offer such labcourses. Here students can make their finaldecision in which group they actually want towork on their Master thesis. Students cancomplete these courses in parallel with thesecond semester modules and therefore caneven skip one semester.4th semester: Master thesisThe module 'Masters Thesis' consists of aresearch project for six month in which students undertake experimental work and complete a thesis on a project in DevelopmentalBiology. Students can choose any Developmental Biology research group participatingin this program (i.e. Institute for Zoology, theEMBL, the DKFZ, and the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe). The Masters Degree finisheswith the disputation. Here students definetheir research proposal, present their researchresults, and interpret their outcomes. With thecompletion of the disputation students receivethe academic result 'Masters of BioscienAs part of the general program, students can ces/Major: Developmental Biology’.1stModul 1 Frontiers in BiosciencesAdvanced Molecular Biology5 weeks lecture & tutorials2nd15 CPProtein Expression Systems3 weeks lab courseModul 3 Focus BiosciencesModul 4 Focus Biosciences15 CP Genetic and Epigenetic Mechanisms5 weeks lecture & tutorialsGain and loss of function analysis in modelsystems3 weeks lab course & seminarBioinformatics and Microscopy orMammalian Fertilisation orExperimental Embryology orDevelopment and Disease3 weeks lab course & seminarModul 5 BiolabModul 6 BiolabWorking in Developmental Biology6 weeks lab course in a DB work group or15 CPStructured stay abroadthesis4th Master6 months in a Developmental Biology work group5Advanced Molecular Biology5 weeks lecture & tutorialsRNA Techniques3 weeks lab courseAdvanced Developmental Biology5 weeks lecture & tutorials3rdModul 2 Frontiers in BiosciencesWorking in Developmental Biology6 weeks lab course in a DB work group or15 CP15 CP15 CPStructured stay abroad30 CP

PhDDevelopmentalBiologyDoing a PhD in Developmental Biology isan excellent entry into your scientific career.Completion of a doctorate takes 3 years andis organized as a graduate program (PhDprogram). The most important part of thisprogram is the research project that each student undertakes independently in researchgroup renown for its work in DevelopmentalBiology. Each student will be allocated a thesis advisory committee (TAC) with the projectleader and three further independent groupleaders. Students are also offered a programof lectures, seminars and courses to furthertheir understanding of relevant methods andconcepts. Students will also have the chanceto present their research results at international conferences and meet developmental biologists from other countries.The Heidelberg research groups workingin the field of Developmental Biology providePhD students with numerous options. Thefaculties for Biosciences and Medicine andother non-university research centers (MPI,EMBL, and DKFZ) offer comprehensive research approaches in Developmental Biology.The areas of research range from DNA-Protein interactions to the analysis of complexregulatory networks. Students can choose anyof these areas to qualify themselves for a scientific career.6Commencement of a PhD. Duringthe Masters Degree students will be kept informed by their lecturers on potential PhDprojects and options available in their respective research groups. Students are advised todiscuss plans for a PhD with their lecturers assoon as possible, because it can take up to 10month to organize personnel in the researchgroups. Currently the prerequisite for acceptance into the PhD is the successful completion of a Masters degree. However, efforts arebeing made to shorten the time from Bachelor Degree to PhD. The aim is to offer a oneyear postgraduate course. This year will correspond with the first two semesters of theMasters Degree. After this year studentsshould then be able to directly change to thegraduate program. This path is as yet not available. For information about the currentrules please refer to the faculty PhD Website.And the future? As DevelopmentalBiology Post Doc, you have an excellent opportunity to work in many labs worldwide.Developmental Biology is the fastest growingbiological discipline in the last 10-20 years.You can judge this by checking the frequencyand size of international conferences withtopics from Developmental Biology. Developmental Biology is not only the Science tounderstand embryology and cell differentiation, it is also the basic science to understandhuman cancer, aging and a prerequisite forregenerative medicine. The job market in thisresearch area is therefore excellent.

PeopleDevelopmental BiologyAkhtar Group / Mechanisms of transcription regulation through chromatin / EMBLArendt Group / Evolution of gastrulation and central nervous systems in Bilateria / EMBLBuselmaier Group / Human genetics /Human GeneticsDavidson Group / Biochemistry of Wnt signaling / DKFZFurlong Group / Regulatory networks required for tissue development / EMBLGrosshans Group / Drosophila cell cycle regulation and cellularisation / ZMBHHolstein Group / Signaling centers and the evolution of body axes / HIZLiebel Group / Gene expression / FZKLoosli Group / Medaka organgenesis / FZKLyko Group / Epigenetics / DKFZMüller Group / Mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in development / EMBLNiehrs Group / Molecular analysis of the Organizer in vertebrates /DKFZÖzbek Group / Biochemistry of the ECM and Wnts / HIZPetersen Group / DNA binding proteins and molecular chaperones / HIZRappold Group / Homeodomain transcription factors / Human GeneticsSpitz Group / Genome architecture and vertebrate development / EMBLSteinbeisser Group / Signal transduction in the early vertebrate embryo / Human GeneticsSträhle Group / Genetics of vertebrate nervous system and muscle development / FZKVogt Group / Genetics of human germ cells and fertilisation / Human GeneticsWittbrodt Group / Brain patterning and eye development / EMBL / HIZ7

Developmental Biology is one of the fastest gro-wing biological disciplines in the last years. It is the basic sci-ence to under-stand human developmet, cancer, and a-ging and it o-pens perspecti-ve for regenera-tive medicine. DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY Major Developmental Biology

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