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Research - Keller Group
Research Focus  As an independent research group of the Institute of Human Genetics, we focus on studying inherited metabolic  diseases, elucidating so-far poorly or not at all elucidated pathomechanisms. We are especially interested in  understanding the dynamic and interconnected membrane lipid metabolism of organelles and cells, for which we  develop novel analytical, data analysis, and bioinformatics approaches. Lipidomics LC-MS/MS lipid analyses are one of the core strengths of our team with specialized analysis strategies for the  structural characterizations of lipids using fragmentation spectra and in-house scripts in R. Recent lipidomics research highlights: Contribution to the discovery of novel lipid enzyme function (https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1917461117) Structural characterization of cardiolipins using fragmentation spectra and mathematical modeling (https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1719407115) Bioinformatics We also focus on bioinformatics, not only to analyze and mine high-content lipidomic data sets, but to employ these for integrative data analyses. This enabled us not only to comprehensively describe lipidomic landscapes but  additionally to functionally link their specificity interactions across the lipid metabolic network in order to determine a major factor dictating phospholipid diversity. Uncovering a generalizable specificity interaction mechanism shaping cardiolipin diversity by artificial neural networks (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2020.02.115)  Genetic metabolic diseases Rooted in the Institute of Human Genetics we have access to a rich background of relevant case information and  cutting-edge genetic methodologies. To study and elucidate complex cellular (patho-)mechanisms, we use a broad  spectrum of biochemical and biological approaches. These include cell biological techniques (CRISPR knock-out,  knock-down, overexpression, media supplementations, cell staining, etc.), subcellular fractionation and enrichment  strategies, stable isotope flux analyses, and enzyme assays.  Creativity, Science & Fun Science is clearly about discovery and trying out novel approaches while always questioning the status-quo and its  limitations. When we encounter a problem, we adopt, improvise and overcome. As a young, dynamic team, we do not shy away from developing and validating our own protocols apart from  commercial standardized Kits to answer research questions. We create our own knockout cell lines as disease  models, adopt cell culture media composition to mimic lipid compositions of human tissues and develop specialized  centrifugation protocols for generating MS compatible subcellular fractions of cellular compartments to elucidate  complex mechanisms.  We see communication and motivation as key factors in research, which is why we have regular social activities and  lab retreats that include hiking, sledging and even sailing. Most importantly, we celebrate ALL achievements no  matter how small or big!
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