International Max Planck Research School in Chemical and Molecular Biology
random IMPRS home image
Apply to join our PhD program

Click to apply


Dr. Heinz Neumann

since May 2016: Group leader at Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology
2009-2016: Free Floater Junior Research Group Leader “Applied Synthetic Biology” and Emmy-Noether Research Group Leader at Georg August University Göttingen, Germany
2006-2009: Postdoc, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK with Jason Chin
2005: PhD in Biochemistry, Universities of Tübingen and Lausanne, Switzerland with Andreas Mayer
2000: Diploma in Chemistry, Universities of Darmstadt and Tübingen, Germany with Bernd Fakler

Research Interest
The question of why and how chromosomes condense in mitosis has intrigued scientists for more than a century and remains among the greatest mysteries of cell biology. My group investigates the dynamic properties of chromatin, especially during the transition from interphase to mitosis, employing new methods developed in the field of synthetic biology. With genetically encoded UV-crosslinker amino acids we have recently discovered an inter-nucleosomal interaction that drives compaction of chromatin triggered by a signalling cascade in mitosis (Wilkins et al. Science 2014). Currently, we are expanding this approach to map the interactome of the nucleosome in living yeast with the aim to reveal the mechanistic principles of mitotic chromosome condensation.

Incorporation of unnatural amino acids in proteins of bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells (Genetic Code Expansion)
Biochemical reconstitution of chromatin templates and their biophysical/structural characterization (e.g. FRET, EM)
Protein-Protein interaction studies (e.g. UV-crosslinking in vivo, co-IP)

Selected Reading
Kruitwagen T, Denoth-Lippuner A, Wilkins BJ, Neumann H and Barral Y. Axial contraction and short-range compaction of chromatin synergistically promote mitotic chromosome condensation. eLife 2015, DOI:10.7554/eLife.10396.

Hoffmann C and Neumann H. In vivo mapping of FACT-Histone interactions identifies a role of Pob3 C-terminus in H2A-H2B binding. ACS Chem Biol 2015, 10, 2753-63.

Wilkins BJ, Hahn LE, Heitmuller S, Frauendorf H, Valerius O, Braus GH and Neumann H. Genetically Encoding Lysine Modifications on Histone H4. ACS Chem Biol 2015, 10, 939-44.

Wilkins BJ, Rall NA, Ostwal Y, Kruitwagen T, Hiragami-Hamada K, Winkler M, Barral Y, Fischle W, and Neumann H. A cascade of histone modifications induces chromatin condensation in mitosis. Science 2014, 343, 77-80.

Neumann H. Rewiring translation - Genetic code expansion and its applications. FEBS Lett 2012, 586, 2057-2064.

Read more ...