group leader


Dirk Schübeler

I studied biology and obtained my PhD in Braunschweig, Germany, working with Jürgen Bode followed by a postdoc at the Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, USA with Mark Groudine. In 2003 I started my own lab at the FMI in Basel where we try to decode gene regulation in chromatin.

postdoctoral fellows


sevi durdu

I was born in Izmir and studied molecular biology and genetics at Bilkent University. During my internships in neuroscience, structural biology and bioinformatics, I realized that the research fields are unnecessarily separated. I then gained my PhD in developmental cell biology at EMBL/Heidelberg, wondering “how cell communication and multicellular architecture are connected”. Now, I am asking "how transcription factors induce specific programs of cell differentiation" in Schubeler lab/FMI.


paul ginno

I come from California and did my undergraduate work at CSU Chico and the University of Tübingen. I then went on to study mammalian epigenetics under the tutelage of Frédéric Chédin at UC Davis before joining Dirk’s group focusing on mammalian gene regulation. My primary research interest is investigating how DNA binding factors interpret the genome to enable unique transcriptional programs. In my free time I enjoy sports, music, ignoring what comes from the white house, trash reading and trying to keep up with my kids.


Ralph Grand

I was born in Auckland, NZ and grew up on a remote island. I moved to the city to do BSc at Massey University, specialising in molecular biology. I then continued with an Honours degree and PhD in genetics studying the organisation of the genome in space in response to environmental stimuli and through time. I am interested in gene regulation in chromatin and I am working on the effect of chromatin on transcription factor binding. I enjoy the outdoors, particularly water-based activities like diving, surfing and fishing, but now embrace the chance to explore the mountains in Europe.


luke isbel

I moved from Australia where I studied Molecular Biology in Melbourne, completing a PhD focused on understanding gene regulation in mice. I am fascinated by the ability of the genome to encode biologically useful information and so I spend my time in the Schübeler lab trying to understand the mechanisms that govern how the genome is ‘read’ by DNA binding proteins, known as transcription factors. In my free time I try to brew beer and bake bread and am sometime successful at both of these hobbies.


Mario iurlaro

I was born in the seaside city of Taranto, in south of Italy. I studied Molecular Biotechnologies in Bologna, with 1 year spent at the University of Oxford for my MSc internship. Tired of good weather and great food, for my PhD I moved to Cambridge, UK, where I investigated DNA methylation dynamics in early mammalian development and the biological function of novel DNA modifications. I am currently studying the mechanisms regulating the interaction between chromatin modifications, nucleosome remodellers and transcription factor binding. I enjoy obscure movies, travelling and the NBA playoffs.

phd students


sebastian kaluscha

I grew up in Freiburg im Breisgau, in southwest Germany. I obtained my M.Sc degree in Biology at the University of Munich (LMU) and moved to Basel in 2016 to join the Schuebeler group. I am interested in DNA methylation and its role in transcriptional silencing. In summer, I enjoy swimming in the Rhine and in winter I go to the mountains snowboarding.


marlena luebke

I was born in Freiburg, Germany, grew up in New Jersey, Missouri, and “Südbaden”, and moved to Heidelberg to study biochemistry. Stopovers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and Novartis in Basel sparked my interest for functional genomics before I returned to Heidelberg to do my Master thesis in the field of epigenetics at EMBL. In my PhD project I work on identifying regulators of promoter activity that act on CpG density with the aim to shed light on the mechanisms of CpG island promoter regulation. In my spare time I enjoy playing volleyball, doing different sports from climbing to yoga, cooking and eating, and spending time with family and friends.


Francesca Masoni

I was born and grew up in Sardinia (Italy); I also lived in Geneva (Switzerland), Prince Edward Island (Canada), and Pavia (Italy). I pursued in Pavia a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and a Master of Sciences in Molecular Biology and Genetics. I am fascinated by how epigenetic regulation governs gene expression plasticity and, hope to contribute in expanding our knowledge in this field. For this, I am now focusing my studies on some of the molecular mechanisms underlying specificity in genome regulation. In my free time I like to read any kind of books, drawing, watching movies and run. I also really enjoy travelling and learn new languages.


marco pregnolato

I was born in Turin, Italy, I studied biotechnology at the University of Turin where I obtained my MSc in Molecular Biotechnology. Then, I moved to Basel for an internship in Novartis before starting my PhD at FMI. I am interested in how genes are regulated at the molecular level and I am working on the interaction between transcription factors and nucleosomes. In my spare time I do sport and play the guitar.

technical/research associates


lukas burger

I am a senior computational biologist in the lab. I studied physics at the Swiss Federal Insitute of Technology in Zürich and did a PhD in bioinformatics with Erik van Nimwegen at the Biozentrum, University of Basel. After my PhD, I moved to FMI, where I first worked for several years in the computational biology group of Michael Stadler before joining the Schübeler lab. I am interested in transcriptional regulation and epigenetics, combined with a general interest in computational/statistical methods for data analysis and modelling. In my spare time, I enjoy playing the piano, dancing and reading.


leslie hoerner

I’m French, from a small town close to Luxembourg and studied biotechnology at the University of Nancy and Lille. After an internship at Novartis in Basel, I was hired as scientific associate in their Oncology department. After 2 years, I switched to more academic research at the FMI. I currently live close by in France with my family where I enjoy following a dance class and falling on roller blades ;)


christiane wirbelauer

I grew up in Freiburg, Germany and got my degree in Landau. My first position was at the University of Freiburg in a plant-department. Afterwards I moved to the Max-Planck-Institute for Immunology in Freiburg to work on Malaria. After 4 years at a company developing immunological assays, I started at the FMI in 1995. For 8 years I worked in the Krek lab on cancer research. I joined Dirk’s lab in 2003 as a Lab Manager.