Philip Avner

Philip Avner
Head of EMBL Monterotondo

The Unit studies critical mammalian physiological phenomena from a molecular perspective in the context of the whole organism. A major refocusing of our research around Neurobiology and Developmental Epigenetics and their interface is currently being implemented.

The Unit is composed of independent research groups whose work has historically been bound together by the study of the mouse in vivo as the principle experimental organism and the application of state-of-the-art methods of imaging, and of approaches to genetic and epigenetic perturbation of cellular and physiological function.

Recent advances in gene 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 research at Monterotondo is underpinned by a state-of-the-art animal facility, provision of a full range of core facilities providing mouse transgenic and genetic engineering technologies, histology, flow cytometry, and microscopy and an efficient and user friendly administration. Additional support for Monterotondo researchers is available through the EMBL Core Facilities on the main Heidelberg site (Genomics, Electron Microscopy, Metabolomics, Protein Expression, Advanced Light Microscopy, and Proteomics).

Overview on Research at EMBL Monterotondo

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 Monterotondo also take advantage of our close 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 site. Interdisciplinary collaborations between EMBL groups and also non-EMBL researchers are facilitated by the EI3POD competitive postdoctoral funding mechanism. The Monterotondo Unit is particularly committed to continuing to foster collaborations and strengthening links with other major Italian research centres.

Currently research groups at EMBL Monterotondo are investigating the epigenetic control of early developmental processes, blood cell development and differentiation, neural circuits and behavior, neural computation, and somatosensation.

Philip Avner
Head of EMBL Monterotondo