Bachelor and Master projects

Available throughout 2020 – contact Pierre Gönczy for further information

Opening for up to 2 Masters students in the Gönczy Laboratory in 2020!

The project is to be chosen amongst the ones listed below. Each project is conducted ideally during 2 semesters, but can be adapted to last only 1 – contact Pierre Gönczy to find out more.

  1. Development of centriole specific probes
    Objective: design, chemically synthesize and test a fluorescent probe specifically targeting the microtubule-doublets present in centrioles and axonemes.
    Approaches: structural analysis, synthetic chemistry, human cell culture, centriole purification, live cell imaging, super-resolution microscopy (STED).
    Ideal for students in: Chemical biology, Chemistry, Life Sciences, Bioengineering.
    Collaboration between the Gönczy laboratory (Life Sciences) and Luc Reymond (Chemistry).

  2. Novel chemical labeling strategies to probe centriole assembly in living cells

    Objective: develop novel bisarsenical multiuse affinity probes to conduct super-resolution imaging of endogenously tagged centriolar proteins in human cells.
    Approaches: human cell culture, CRISP/Cas9-mediated engineering, synthetic chemistry, live cell imaging, super-resolution microscopy (STORM).
    Ideal for students in: Chemical biology, Chemistry, Life Sciences, Bioengineering.
    Collaboration between the Gönczy laboratory (Life Sciences) and Pablo Rivera-Fuentes (Chemistry).


  3. Development of PROTAC (Proteolytic-Targeting Chimera) targeting Plk4

    Objective: design, chemically synthesize and test a PROTAC targeting the Polo-like-kinase 4 (Plk4) to dissect mechanisms of centriole assembly in human cells.
    Approaches: structural analysis, synthetic chemistry, human cell culture, live cell imaging, super-resolution microscopy (STED).
    Ideal for students in: Chemical biology, Chemistry, Life Sciences, Bioengineering.
    Collaboration between the Gönczy laboratory (Life Sciences) and Luc Reymond (Chemistry).


  4. Dissecting Cep135/Bld10p function in centriole assembly

    Objective: uncover the mechanism of action of the evolutionarily conserved protein Cep135/Bld10p in mediating templated and de novo centriole assembly.
    Approaches: cell biology, live cell imaging, centriole purification, monobody analysis, super-resolution microscopy (STORM), cryo-electron microscopy.
    Ideal for students in: Life Sciences, Bioengineering, Chemical biology.
    Rooted in the Gönczy laboratory (Life Sciences), with contributions from the Manley laboratory (Physics).


  5. Investigation of centriole number control mechanisms in human cells

    Objective: combine experiments and mathematical modeling to investigate how Plk4, STIL and HsSAS-6 proteins collaborate to ensure assembly of a single procentriole next to each parental centriole, once per cell cycle. 
    Approaches: human cell culture, centriole purification, live cell imaging, super-resolution microscopy (STED), mathematical modeling.
    Ideal for students in: Life Sciences, Physics, Mathematics.


  6. Re-engineering SAS-6 proteins

    Objective: test whether centrioles can form in human cells with a SAS-6 protein that assembles into a spiral rather than a ring-bearing structure, as well as into structures with altered fold symmetries.
    Approaches: site directed mutagenesis, protein expression and purification, cryo-electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), human cell culture, CRISP/Cas9-mediated engineering, super-resolution microscopy (STED).
    Ideal for students in: Life Sciences, Bioengineering.


  7. Centriole inheritance in sexual and asexual reproduction

    Objective: investigate how centrioles are inherited/formed in embryos generated through asexual reproduction, where oocytes develop without fertilization by sperm.
    Approaches: live cell imaging of early embryogenesis in the nematode Panagrolaimus, identification of homologues of C. elegans centriolar proteins, protein expression and purification, antibody generation, immufluorescence analysis, confocal imaging.
    Ideal for students in: Life Sciences


  8. Dissecting de novo centriole assembly in the water fern

    Objective: dissect mechanisms of de novo centriole assembly in the water fern Marsilea vestita.
    Approaches: live cell imaging, cryo-electron tomography, RNAi-based gene silencing, transcriptome analysis, identification of centriolar proteins, protein expression and purification, antibody generation, immufluorescence analysis, confocal imaging.
    Ideal for students in: Life Sciences


  9. Mechanisms of centriole elimination during C. elegans embryogenesis

    Objective: conduct an RNAi-based functional genomic screen in the nematode C. elegans to discover genes necessary for centriole elimination, and begin analyzing their mechanism of action.
    Approaches: functional genomics, microscopy, image analysis.
    Ideal for students in: Life Sciences, Bioengineering


  10. Evolutionary diversity and origin of centriolar proteins

    Objective: identify homologues of critical centriolar proteins across all domains of life and thus help trace the origin of the centriole organelle; dry aspect: develop, refine and apply computational approaches for detecting distant relatives of centriolar proteins; wet aspect: test  newly identified candidates in cell free assays.
    Approaches: computational biology, cell biology
    Ideal for students in: Computer Sciences, Life Sciences
    Collaboration between the Gönczy and Bitbol laboratories (both EPFL, Life Sciences) and the Dessimoz laboratory (UNIL and SIB).