Research Areas

You can find VBC group leaders and collaborators according to their area of research here:

Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structure

How individual molecular components provide biological function and how they assemble into sophisticated higher-order structures in cells remain key questions in modern biology. To understand these processes in molecular detail, research groups at the VBC apply state-of-the-art methods that include resolving macromolecular complexes at atomic resolution, reconstituting multi-component complexes in vitro, studying protein-ligand interactions by biophysical methods, and using single-molecule techniques to look at molecular machines in action. By following this highly integrative, yet collaborative Structural Biology and Biochemistry approach, students at the VBC have gained groundbreaking insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying fundamental cellular functions.

Cell and Chromosome Biology

Cells are the fundamental unit of all life forms. Their diverse biological functions arise from self-organization of biological macromolecules into higher-order structures like membrane-bound organelles, cytoskeleton, or phase-separated liquid-like compartments. Innovations in imaging technology and new theories emerging from the physical sciences provide fascinating insights into the molecular mechanisms shaping cellular structures as sophisticated as chromosomes. At the Vienna BioCenter, a highly interactive research community uses cutting-edge approaches, including super-resolution microscopy, high-content screening, biochemical reconstitution, and genomics, to unravel the universal principles underlying cellular organization and function.

Computational Biology, Genomes, and Evolution

Computational methods provide powerful tools to analyse large amounts of biological data, ranging from high-throughput microscopic images to genome sequences or thousands of single-cell transcriptomes. Algorithm development, modeling and high-throughput processing of data have therefore become integral parts of many successful research projects. One particular stronghold at the Vienna BioCenter is the analysis of genomic and epigenomic variants to assess natural variation in individuals and across populations. These types of analyses open unprecedented opportunities to explore variation in established and emerging model systems, to unravel new biological mechanisms as well as adaptation strategies.

Disease Mechanisms, Immunology, and Pathogens

Rapid advances in deep-sequencing and functional-genetic tools fundamentally change the way we can study physiological processes and disease mechanisms in complex organisms. One of the greatest challenges for the next decade is the translation of complex genome and epigenome data into a better mechanistic understanding of disease processes. How do certain mutations lead to cancer and other diseases? How do organisms defend themselves against pathogens and malignant cells? And how can we exploit this knowledge for the development of better therapies? Researchers on campus take advantage of the unique infrastructure, a wide range of expertise and model systems, and the collaborative spirit at the VBC to explore and answer these questions.

Gene Regulation, RNA, and Epigenetics

Gene expression is at the heart of nearly all cellular processes. How the underlying genetic information is stored and utilized has fascinated biologists since the advent of molecular biology. A large community of scientists at the VBC campus works in this vibrant field. They combine diverse approaches ranging from mechanistic biochemistry and cell biology to genomics and transcriptomics in order to unravel the connections between genomes and the transcripts they encode. In addition to breakthrough improvements in next-generation sequencing (NGS) and CryoEM technologies, the recently described small RNA-based defense systems in bacteria and eukaryotes-now widely used as powerful tools to edit genomes or to silence gene expression- have opened new avenues for discovery in this central field of biology.

Neurobiology

How the brain functions is one of the biggest mysteries in the life sciences. Neuroscience labs at the VBC address fundamental questions in this field exploiting state-of-the-art methodology. How do neural circuits process information to form memories and to coordinate adaptive behaviors? How do brains form and evolve? What cellular and molecular mechanisms underlie neurological disorders? Labs with diverse expertise in genetics, molecular biology, neurophysiology and computational neuroscience form a collaborative and inspiring environment. We take advantage of a wide range of model systems including annelid worms, nematodes, pigeons, fish, rodents and human organoid cultures, each particularly suited for making new and exciting discoveries.

Stem Cells, Development, and Regeneration

How multicellular organisms develop from a single cell is one of the most fascinating processes in biology. At the heart of this process are stem cells, which are not only key during development but also for adult tissue homeostasis and regeneration. The Vienna BioCenter offers cutting-edge research infrastructure and an enthusiastic and collaborative environment. We work together to discover the signaling steps and regulatory mechanisms responsible for the changes in cellular properties underpinning the formation of tissues and organs. By combining innovative technology with our broad range of model systems, we aim to uncover the secrets of development, regeneration and disease.