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Structural Biologist Clemens Plaschka to establish lab at the IMP


14 Feb 2018
Clemens Plaschka

In April, the IMP will welcome a new group leader: Clemens Plaschka, an RNA biologist and specialist in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) will establish his lab. 

Plaschka’s new lab will use structural and biochemical methods to study how messenger RNA is regulated at different stages of its life cycle. “With the recent breakthroughs in cryo-EM methodology, we can now tackle many of the challenging questions in RNA biology. In particular, we want to understand how macromolecular complexes regulate the processing of messenger RNA. For example, while we have long lists of proteins that bind messenger RNA, precisely how they associate and act to regulate alternative splicing or mRNA packaging, remains unknown.”, says Plaschka. 

Cryo-EM allows the visualisation of cellular processes in near-atomic detail and was recognized by last year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry. Cryo-EM is one of the many methods employed by the thriving structural biology community at the Vienna BioCenter and greater Vienna area. “The combination of first rate science with a lively research community drew me to return to Vienna after eleven years abroad. I’m excited to join the IMP this spring,“ says Plaschka, who was born and raised in Vienna.

Plaschka first studied at Imperial College London before pursuing his PhD in the lab of Patrick Cramer to study the structural basis of gene activation (University of Munich and Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry). For his postdoctoral studies, he joined the group of Kiyoshi Nagai at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, one of the major centers for cryo-EM development. There he contributed to the mechanistic understanding of RNA processing by a large molecular machine, called the spliceosome.

Any undergraduate considering a career in this field should take note of currently open PhD- and master student positions in Plaschka’s lab (see below).

The Plaschka Lab is hiring!

Interested in joining Clemens Plaschka’s Lab for a postdoc, PhD or master? There are open positions currently available. Further information will be published here soon, meanwhile, please contact Clemens Plaschka directly at clemens.plaschka[at]imp.ac.at if interested.