Department Cell Biology of the Skin

The Department of Cell Biology of the Skin – AG Niessen aims at understanding how regulation of cell structure determines the shape and function of epithelial barriers. We ask how regulators of cell architecture integrate with signals that control metabolism, inflammation and growth to control the formation and maintenance of the multilayered epidermal skin barrier and how alterations in these biomechanical networks result in disease.

Mission of the lab: Understanding how cell shape determines tissue function

The Niessen laboratory aims at understanding how adhesion, mechanical and biochemical signals integrate to establish and regenerate stratifying epithelial barriers. The explicit aim is to understand how these signals coordinate cell shape, fate and position within the tissue. We focus on the skin epidermis as this provides a paradigm for spatial separation of differentiation states in distinct compartments.

Research projects


Lab Retreat- Rafting on the Rhein

We made very good use of the (maybe) last day of summer and spent a great day on the Rhein!

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BBQ and goodbye Sally!

Also this year we had a nice BBQ evening with the AG Karstedt.
At the same time we had to say goodbye to our colleague Sally and wish her all the best for her future!

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Tight Junctions: from Structure and Development to Therapeutics, Leysin, Switzerland 4 th - 8th June, 2023

Aishwarya and Matthias at the Tight Junction Meeting in Leysin, Switzerland. Thanks to Sandra Citi for a great meeting!

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New Paper in Scientific Reports

Polarity signaling balances epithelial contractility and mechanical resistance. We show how aPKC regulates cytoskeletal reorganization and tissue resilience in vivo.…

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