Profiles

Dr Harald Janovjak

 - Chief Investigator

Research focus: Synthetic physiology - understanding and manipulating cell signalling and cell behaviour selectively in tissues affected by degeneration, including type 1 diabetes and Parkinson's disease


Dr Janovjak’s research interest lies at the interface of synthetic biology and mammalian physiology in the new research field synthetic physiology.

In past few years, the focus of his work was on the ‘synthetic’ of synthetic physiology and his group established new methods to control signalling pathways, e.g. those activated by receptor tyrosine kinases and GPCRs, and behaviour, e.g. proliferation and survival, of nerve cells, cancer cells and key cell populations involved in metabolism. These methods offer spatial precision, e.g. to activate only selected cells or tissues ex vivo and in vivo, and temporal precision, e.g. to intervene with specific stages during development and disease progression, and included but were not limited to optogenetics.

His work is currently transitioning to the ‘physiology’ of synthetic physiology with a focus on understanding and manipulating cell signalling and cell behaviour selectively in tissues affected by degeneration. His interdisciplinary research builds on application of new molecular tools, such as light-activated receptors, in animal models (mouse and Drosophila) of disease, including Type I diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.