Austrian Research Fund FWF doc.fund Doctoral Program

Interdisciplinary Research Platform for Exploration,
Innovation and Education in Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation Biology

Part of Vienna Biocenter VBC Doctoral School

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Welcome to the ELLIPSE Doctoral Program!

Welcome to the ELLIPSE Doctoral Program! Our understanding of how cells are organized is undergoing a major transformation and central to this is the concept of liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS). It has become clear that many key cellular compartments, such as nucleoli, p-bodies or stress granules, assemble spontaneously when proteins, nucleic acids and other biomolecules condense together via LLPS. While the ubiquity and the significance of biomolecular condensates are undeniable, our knowledge of the driving forces behind their formation and our understanding of the microscopic and molecular mechanisms that underlie their biological roles remain incomplete.

We are firmly convinced that the cellular behavior of LLPS domains in both health and disease can ultimately be explained by considering the atomistic structure, dynamics and interactions of the biomolecules involved. In light of this, the ELLIPSE faculty and students combine a range of high-resolution structural biology methods, biochemical and cell-biological approaches and theoretical and computational techniques steeped in soft-matter physics to study LLPS in key biological systems.

The phenomenon of LLPS has taken the world of biology by storm, creating a pressing need for direct crosstalk between biology and physics. The mission of ELLIPSE is to create a formal channel, which will make this crosstalk possible and enable a new, deeper understanding of a seminal biological phenomenon. Embedded in the Vienna Biocenter Doctoral School, one of Europe’s oldest, largest and most successful PhD programs in molecular biology, ELLIPSE is aiming high. Come, join us!

A short video about ELLIPSE program