In 2010 Vlad graduated from Charkow National University, Ukraine with M.Sc in Biochemistry. In parallel he finished two-years training program in Molecular Biology at Moscow State University, Educational Center for Molecular biology.

In September 2010, Vlad became a member of the IGS DHD. During the rotation period he made three research projects in the following laboratories:

  • Prof. Maria Leptin, title of project: "The role of Misshapen kinase in Drosophila gastrulation"
  • Prof. Henerike Scholz, title of project: "Haracterization of the DuncePM/PA proteins, a Phoshpodiesterase 4 homolog in Drosophila"
  • Dr. Mirka Uhlirova, title of project: "The role of Merlin and Diaphanous in tumor formation and invasiveness"

Since March 2011 Vlad has been working on the PhD project in the laboratory of Prof. Maria Leptin.

Project description

In my doctorate project I am investigating the genetic regulation of cell shape changes and cell fate determination during Drosophila morphogenesis. Expression of the transcription factors Twist and Snail specifies the presumptive mesoderm in the early embryo. Twist and Snail trigger several intracellular processes, which result in cell shape as well as fate changes, and drive invagination the mesoderm tissue. The traf4 gene was recently identified as a transcriptional target of Twist. In traf4 mutant embryos gastrulation is delayed and the shape of mesoderm cells is abnormal. Several experiments were done to reveal Traf4 functions. It appeared to be required for proper localization of Armadillo (Drosophila b-catenin). Also it was described, that Traf4 can physically interact with the Ste20 kinase Misshapen (Msn). In different developmental processes Msn controls nuclear migration, accumulation of E-cadherin, axon targeting and other cytoskeleton-dependent processes. Expression of a truncated form of Msn, which was described as dominant negative in the literature, provoked mutant phenotypes, similar to traf4 mutant embryos. Traf4 and Msn may interact in mesoderm cells and their interaction could be an important step in the control of gastrulation. In my research work I use genetic and biochemical tools to confirm or disprove putative interaction between Msn and Traf4, and I try to understand possible mechanisms of their downstream action.