Alexander Bläßle, PhD Student
Hometown: Ulm, Germany
Affiliation: Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, Systems Biology of Development Group
What are you working on?
How does a stem-cell know what kind of cell it is going to be, where to go and what to do? In embryonic development, this is often controlled by so-called signaling molecules: Molecules that move between cells, then dock to a cell and thus tell the cell what to do. Which cells the signaling molecule can reach is determined by how fast the molecule moves and how long it lives.
I assess exactly those properties of relevant signaling molecules in zebrafish embryos and then use mathematical modeling to verify and extend these measurements.
Why is it interesting?
Just imagine that all people in your hometown are gathering on a soccer field. Then you tell one of them that they have to align such that you could read your name from an aerial view and they have to be finished in 15 minutes. If your town has more than 1000 people, this will probably end in a catastrophe. Now imagine that happening with a billion people, forming a much more complex shape such as a body. This is embryonic development. Crazy, right?
What is your favourite thing outside of science?
Definitely sports and nature. Working in the lab often provides long incubation periods that can be used for a run, a visit at the local pool or some biking in the nearby Schönbuch forest.
Your favourite spot in Tübingen is?
Hohenentringen castle. It has a nice beer garden with a spectacular view over the Ammertal and is only 20 mins by bike from the institute.