Philip Avner

Philip Avner
Head of EMBL Rome

The Unit studies varied mammalian physiological phenomena from a molecular perspective in the context of the whole organism with a very strong emphasis, following a recent refocusing of our research on Neurobiology and Epigenetics and their interface.

The research of all groups is centered on the study of the mouse as a model organism and this research is underpinned by a state-of-the-art animal facility, and the provision of a full range of core facilities including mouse transgenic and gene editing technologies, viral vector engineering, imaging, histology, flow cytometry, microscopy, and an efficient and user friendly administration. Additional support for our researchers is available through the EMBL Core Facilities on the main Heidelberg site (Genomics, Electron Microscopy, Metabolomics, Protein Expression, Advanced Light Microscopy, and Proteomics).

Recent advances in delivery and editing technologies have dramatically increased the ease and rapidity with which genetic and epigenetic perturbations can be introduced into the mouse genome allowing increasingly sophisticated causal experimental approaches in this organism. Such technologies are currently routinely exploited by all groups in the Unit.

Current research at EMBL Rome

Current research topics include the epigenetic control of early developmental processes, neural circuits and behavior, neural computation, somatosensation and the biology of blood cell development and differentiation.

Research groups

Asari Group Visual systems neuroscience
Avner Group Dynamics of epigenetic regulation
Boulard Group
(from Oct. 2017)
Heritable gene silencing in mammals
Gross Group Neural control of instinctive behaviour
Hackett Group Epigenetic reprogramming and inheritance
Heppenstall Group Molecular physiology of somatosensation
Lancrin Group Understanding the formation of hematopoietic progenitor and stem cells during development

Affiliated groups

Prevedel Group
(Cell Biology & Biophysics Unit)
Advanced optical techniques for deep tissue microscopy

Researchers at EMBL Rome take advantage of our close institutional links with EMBL-EBI in Hinxton, UK (Bioinformatics), with the Hamburg and Grenoble Units (Structural Biology) and the presence of the Developmental Biology, Genome Biology, Cell Biology and Biophysics, Structural and Computational Biology Units on the Heidelberg to progress our research. Interdisciplinary collaborations between EMBL groups and also non-EMBL researchers are facilitated by the EI3POD competitive postdoctoral funding mechanism, and by collaborative agreements with Italian institutes such as the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the University of La Sapienza. The Rome Unit is committed to expanding and improving its collaborative links with other major Italian research centres.

Philip Avner
Head of EMBL Rome