Max Planck Researcher from Tübingen receives ERC Consolidator Grant

Millions in funding for research group leader Patrick Müller at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory

Patrick Müller, research group leader at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory in Tübingen, is awarded the ERC Consolidator Grant 2019 for his project "Ace of Space". His five-year research project will focus on self-organizing pattern formation processes during embryonic development. The award is Müller's second ERC success after receiving the ERC Starting Grant in 2015. The grant is awarded by the European Research Council and is endowed with 2 Million Euros.

In his project "Ace of Space", Patrick Müller will address a century-old question in the field of developmental biology. How are tissues patterned in time and space, and how do identical cells differentiate to form the adult body plan? It is well known that such pattern formation processes are coordinated by a large number of signaling molecules. However, it has remained unclear how exactly these signals are transmitted and how cells interact with each other to interpret this information. Furthermore, it has been difficult to directly visualize how signaling molecules pattern embryos and to define the minimal requirements for self-organized patterning.

Together with his research group at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, Patrick Müller will focus on these topics and work on zebrafish embryos, mouse embryonic stem cells and bacterial colonies. He will apply a combination of methods from quantitative imaging, optogenetics and computational modeling. According to Müller, the project funded by the ERC Consolidator Grant will not only provide exciting insights into the communication between cells. An improved understanding of these processes may also open up new possibilities for tissue engineering relevant for regenerative medicine.

From 1999 to 2004, Patrick Müller studied in Göttingen, Berkeley and New York. In 2007, he received his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and worked as a postdoc and research associate at Harvard University until 2013. During his time as research group leader at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, he received the ERC Starting Grant and the EMBO Young Investigator Award. In 2019, Patrick Müller was appointed as Full Professor at the Medical Faculty of the University of Tübingen.

The Friedrich Miescher Laboratory has been founded 50 years ago and plays a unique role in the Max Planck Society by supporting the innovative research programs of young research groups in an independent institute with generous resources.