Bachelor and Master projects

Available throughout 2021 – contact Pierre Gönczy for further information

Opening for up to 2 Masters students in the Gönczy Laboratory in 2021!

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 ([email protected]) to find out more!


1. Investigating centriole number control mechanisms in human cells

Keywords: centriole, number control, live imaging, modeling

Objective: combine experiments and mathematical modeling to investigate how Plk4, STIL and HsSAS-6 together ensure assembly of a single new centriole next to each resident centriole, once per cell cycle; monitor fate of cells with altered centriole number in long term live imaging experiments.  

Approaches: human cell culture, live cell imaging, super-resolution microscopy (STED), mathematical modeling.

Ideal for students in: Life Sciences, Physics, Mathematics.

Wet + Dry


2. Re-engineering SAS-6 proteins

Keywords: centriole, bioengineering, AFM, CRISPR/Cas9

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, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated engineering, super-resolution microscopy (STED).

Ideal for students in: Life Sciences, Bioengineering.



3. Centriole inheritance in sexual and asexual reproduction

Keywords: centriole, C. elegans, parthenogenesis, cell biology

Objective: investigate how centrioles are inherited/formed in embryos generated through asexual reproduction, where oocytes develop without fertilization by sperm.

Approaches: live imaging of early embryogenesis in the nematode Panagrolaimus, identification of homologues of C. eleganscentriolar proteins, protein expression and purification,antibody generation, immunofluorescence analysis, confocal imaging.

Ideal for students in: Life Sciences



4. Evolutionary diversity and origin of centriolar proteins

Keywords: centriole, computational biology, evolution of protein families

Objective:identify homologues of fundamental centriolar proteins across the domains of life and thus help trace the origin of the centriole organelle; test newly identified candidates in cell free assay. 

Approaches: computational biology, structural prediction, cell biology

Ideal for students in: Computer Sciences, Life Sciences

Collaboration between the Bitbol and Gönczy laboratories (EPFL, Life Sciences), as well as with the Dessimoz laboratory (UNIL and SIB).

Dry + Wet


5. Analyzing genes that set organismal thermal limits

Keywords: yeast, worms, thermal range, computational biology, functional genomics

Objective: analyze outcome of a screen performed in the yeast S. cerevisiaeto identify genes important for determining organismal thermal range; investigate whether their function is conserved in the nematode C. elegans

Approaches: computational biology, functional genomics, microscopy.

Ideal for students in: Life Sciences, Computer Sciences

Dry + Wet


6. Analysis of the flagellum in a new model organism for multicellularity

Keywords: protist, life cycle, flagellum, electron microscopy 

Objective: characterize the life cycle of the Ichthyosporean Chromosphaera perkinsii, identifying when and where flagellated cells appear; describe flagellar organization and analyse centrioles using immunofluorescence and electron microscopy.

Approaches: conduct live cell imaging of C. perkinsii in different growth conditions, establish synchronization protocol using cell sorting, perform immunofluorescence analysis, as well as transmission and scanning electron microscopy.

Ideal for students in: Life Sciences

Supervised by Omaya Dudin (Ambizione Fellow)