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Department of Molecular Life Sciences Former Research IMLS

Attila Becskei


Most properties of living organisms result from a network of interacting cellular components. A systems biology approach is key for understanding the behavior of networks underlying such diverse processes as the propagation of action potentials in neurons, spatial orientation of cells during chemotaxis, cellular differentiation during hematopoiesis, and the cell division cycle.

We use mathematical and computational tools, including deterministic and stochastic dynamical systems theory, to analyze a range of cellular phenomena. While experiments employing high-throughput technologies have revolutionized systems biology and provided a wealth of data, new experimental approaches are often needed to reveal important properties of a biological system. Therefore, we usually combine experimental and theoretical work.

One of our research projects focuses on epigenetic cellular differentiation. Mathematical modeling revealed that spreading of silencing proteins along the chromosome can generate two distinct concentration profiles when silencing nucleation two sites flank a gene. These two states correspond to two distinct gene expression levels, reconstituting a basic form of cellular differentiation.


1992 - 1998: University of Szeged, Hungary
1998 - 2002: PhD. EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
2002 - 2005: Postdoc, MIT, Cambridge, USA
2006 - 2011: Assistant Professor, IMLS, UZH, Switzerland
2011 - Professor, Biozentrum, UniBasel, Switzerland

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Prof. Dr. Attila Becskei Assistant Professor of Systems Biology