Mission Accomplished

Their focus was on strange creatures with stunning characteristics: The Junior Group “Computational Biology” at HITS investigated the genome of salamanders and flatworms. After almost five years of intensive research, Group Leader Dr. Siegfried Schloissnig and his team – together with colleagues from Dresden and Vienna – managed to decipher the genome of the Mexican salamander Axolotl and the flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea. Both animals are important organisms in regeneration research. The research results have been published in the scientific journal “Nature” and achieved significant response from the media.

MARVELous: a new software for regeneration research

Schloissnig and his colleagues Philipp Bongartz, Philipp Kämpfer, Martin Pippel, and Sean Powell have been developing an entirely new software program – the genome assembler “MARVEL” – since 2013. The program can also reconstruct a genome from extremely large amounts of highly repetitive genetic information. “Our mission is accomplished,” Siegfried Schloissnig cheers. Born in Klagenfurt, Schloissnig’s next career move will take him back to Austria, where he will be head the IT department of regeneration research at the Institute for Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna.

“Working at HITS has truly been a privilege because it allowed us to pursue our work undisturbed and in pleasant surroundings,” Schloissnig concludes. “And thanks to our donor, Klaus Tschira, we had plenty of time and no publication pressure.”

HITS junior groups: support for young researchers

Through the establishment of Junior Groups, HITS aims to support ambitious young scientists and researchers on their career paths. This year, HITS plans to set up two Junior Groups dealing with “Machine Learning” and “Computational Materials Science.” In addition, the Junior Group of Andreas Bauswein, who has received an ERC Starting Grant, will begin its work in May 2018.

More on the research work of the Junior Group “Computational Biology”:

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