Jana Tünnermann

Research Interest

The human genome is around four meters long, whereas the nucleus has a diameter of a few micrometers. Hence, DNA needs to be organized to fit into the nucleus, whereby a loosely packed open conformation (euchromatin) and a densely packed closed conformation (heterochromatin) exist. The organization of this densely packed heterochromatin forms the core of my research interest.

Many proteins associated with heterochromatin are known, whereby heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) is one of them. It binds to chromatin at the heterochromatin marker H3K9me3, can form dimers and interacts with other heterochromatin associated proteins like Suv39h. If HP1 has a structural role besides its functional roles is not known. Recent studies have shown that HP1a, one of HP1 isoforms, can undergo liquid-phase separation in vitro. In daily life this phenomena occurs when oil and water, two liquids, do not mix. Thus, the question rose if HP1a forms a nuclear compartment by liquid-phase separation in vivo. In contrast to a liquid phase, HP1a could also form a lose network together with chromatin without liquid-phase separation. To distinguish between these two models, I use in vitro and in vivo approaches involving fluorescence microscopy.


Scientific Background

  • since 10/2015: Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg - Masters program in Biochemistry with following reasearch internships
    • Analysis of H3 Tail Dynamics using Altering-Laser-Excitation (ALEX) FRET, Langowski group (DKFZ, Heidelberg)
    • Using 18O-labelled Phosphate for Mass Spectrometry, Brügger group (BZH, Heidelberg)
    • Hypoxic Conditions as a New Approach for STED Imaging, Hell group (DKFZ, Heidelberg)
    • Pulling Simulations of a Single Collagen Molecule, Gräter group (HITS, Heidelberg)
    • Monitoring the Downstream-Signaling of TAAR1 in Beta-Cells - Stimulation Experiments using the FRET-based cAMP Sensor Epac, Schultz group (EMBL, Heidelberg)
  • 01/2015 – 05/2015: University of Helsinki (Finland) - European student exchange; ERASMUS
  • 10/2011 – 09/2015: Georg-August-University Göttingen - Bachelor program in Biochemistry (Thesis: Crystallographic analysis of human orotidine-5'-monophosphate decarboxylase and varieties, Tittmann group (SSF, Göttingen))


Jana Tünnermann

DKFZ & BioQuant Center

Division of Chromatin Networks

Im Neuenheimer Feld 267-BQ24

69120 Heidelberg


BioQuant room 623

Tel.: +49-6221-54-51374

Fax: +49 6221 54 51487

e-mail: jana.tuennermann (at)