Nicolas Thomä

Group News

Nov 17, 2023
Zuzanna Kozicka awarded Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists
Oct 4, 2023
Small molecules to treat big diseases
Oct 3, 2023
Nicolas Thomä leaving the FMI
Apr 26, 2022
Nicolas Thomä receives the Otto Naegeli Prize 2022
Apr 26, 2022
Basel biologist wins science prize for thalidomide insights
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Nicolas Thomä

The molecular basis of genome maintenance

The information stored in the genome of each cell is constantly protected against endogenous and exogenous attack. Enzymatic maintenance processes are in place that repair mutations and prevent duplication or deletion events. Thus, genetic and epigenetic information is faithfully passaged to the progeny. On a biomedical level, defects in these pathways are frequently associated with cancer. Genome integrity is maintained through large multi-component nano-machines. We focus on protein complexes at the interface of DNA repair, replication and chromatin. My laboratory has set out to combine structural biology, cell biology and complex biochemical in vitro reconstitutions to address the molecular workings of these chromatin-bound complex assemblies. Our focus is on machines that detect and repair mutations in the DNA, and those that make possible the accurate passage of epigenetic information to the daughter generation.

Nicolas Thomä

Understanding life, advancing medicine — Nicolas Thomä talks about his fascination with proteins and his work on "molecular glues", small molecules that have the potential to treat tough diseases.
April 26, 2022

TED talk by Nico Thomä
Protein superglue! What this means for drug discovery
May 11, 2019 - Basel

This is a list of selected publications from this group. For a full list of publications, please visit our Publications page and search by group name.

Pathare GR, Decout A, Glück S, Cavadini S, Makasheva K, Hovius R, Kempf G, Weiss J, Kozicka Z, Guey B, Melenec P, Fierz B, Thomä NH, Ablasser A. (2020) Structural mechanism of cGAS inhibition by the nucleosome.

Nature. 2020 Nov;587(7835):668-672

Kassube SA, Thomä NH (2020) Structural insights into Fe-S protein biogenesis by the CIA targeting complex.

Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2020 Aug;27(8):735-742

Slabicki M, Kozicka Z, Petzold G, Li YD, Manojkumar M, Bunker RD, Donovan KA, Sievers QL, Koeppel J, Suchyta D, Sperling AS, Fink EC, Gasser JA, Wang LR, Corsello SM, Sellar RS, Jan M, Gillingham D, Scholl C, Fröhling S, Golub TR, Fischer ES, Thomä NH, Ebert BL. (2020) The CDK inhibitor CR8 acts as a molecular glue degrader that depletes cyclin K.

Nature. 2020 Sep;585(7824):293-297

Michael AK, Grand RS, Isbel L, Cavadini S, Kozicka Z, Kempf G, Bunker RD, Schenk AD, Graff-Meyer A, Pathare GR, Weiss J, Matsumoto S, Burger L, Schübeler D, Thomä NH. (2020) Mechanisms of OCT4-SOX2 motif readout on nucleosomes.

Science. 2020 Jun 26;368(6498):1460-1465.

Schenk AD, Cavadini S, Thomä NH, Genoud C (2020) Live Analysis and Reconstruction of Single-Particle Cryo-Electron Microscopy Data with CryoFLARE.

J Chem Inf Model. 2020 May 26

Rabl J, Bunker RD, Schenk AD, Cavadini S, Gill ME, Abdulrahman W, Andrés-Pons A, Luijsterburg MS, Ibrahim AFM, Branigan E, Aguirre JD, Marceau AH, Guérillon C, Bouwmeester T, Hassiepen U, Peters AHFM, Renatus M, Gelman L, Rubin SM, Mailand N, van Attikum H, Hay RT, Thomä NH (2019) Structural Basis of BRCC36 Function in DNA Repair and Immune Regulation.

Mol Cell. 2019 Aug 8;75(3):483-497.e9

Matsumoto S, Cavadini S, Bunker RD, Grand RS, Potenza A, Rabl J, Yamamoto J, Schenk AD, Schübeler D, Iwai S, Sugasawa K, Kurumizaka H, Thomä NH (2019) DNA damage detection in nucleosomes involves DNA register shifting.

Nature. 2019 Jul;571(7763):79-84

Sievers QL, Petzold G, Bunker RD, Renneville A, Slabicki M, Liddicoat BJ, Abdulrahman W, Mikkelsen T, Ebert BL, Thomä NH (2018) Defining the human C2H2 zinc finger degrome targeted by thalidomide analogs through CRBN

Science. 2018 Nov 2;362(6414)

Fischer ES, Böhm K, Lydeard JR, Yang H, Stadler MB, Cavadini S, Nagel J, Serluca F, Acker V, Lingaraju GM, Tichkule RB, Schebesta M, Forrester WC, Schirle M, Hassiepen U, Ottl J, Hild M, Beckwith RE, Harper JW, Jenkins JL, Thomä NH (2014) Structure of the DDB1-CRBN E3 ubiquitin ligase in complex with thalidomide

Nature 512:49-53

Lingaraju GM, Bunker RD, Cavadini S, Hess D, Hassiepen U, Renatus M, Fischer ES, Thomä NH (2014) Crystal structure of the human COP9 signalosome

Nature. 2014 Jul 16. doi: 10.1038/nature13566. [Epub ahead of print]

Bocquet N, Bizard AH, Abdulrahman W, Larsen NB, Faty M, Cavadini S, Bunker RD, Kowalczykowski SC, Cejka P, Hickson ID, Thomä NH (2014) Structural and mechanistic insight into Holliday-junction dissolution by topoisomerase IIIa and RMI1

Nat Struct Mol Biol. 21:261-8

Shi T, Bunker RD, Mattarocci S, Ribeyre C, Faty M, Gut H, Scrima A, Rass U, Rubin SM, Shore D, Thomä NH (2013) Rif1 and Rif2 shape telomere function and architecture through multivalent Rap1 interactions

Cell 153:1340-53

Fischer ES, Scrima A, Böhm K, Matsumoto S, Lingaraju GM, Faty M, Yasuda T, Cavadini S, Wakasugi M, Hanaoka F, Iwai S, Gut H, Sugasawa K, Thomä NH (2011) The molecular basis of CRL4(DDB2/CSA) ubiquitin ligase architecture, targeting and release of signalosome inhibition

Cell, 147, 5, 1024-1039

Schmitges FW, Prusty AB, Faty M, Stützer A, Lingaraju GM, Aiwazian J, Sack R, Hess D, Li L, Zhou S, Bunker RD, Wirth U, Bouwmeester T, Bauer A, Ly-Hartig N, Zhao K, Chan H, Gu J, Gut H, Fischle W, Müller J, Thomä NH (2011) Histone methylation by PRC2 is inhibited by active chromatin marks

Mol Cell 42:330-41.

Scrima A, Konickova R, Czyzewski B, Kawasaki Y, Jeffrey P, Groisman R, Nakatani Y, Iwai S, Pavletich N, Thomä N (2008) Structural basis of UV DNA-damage recognition by the DDB1-DDB2 complex

Cell 135:1213-1223

Full list of publications
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Group leader

In current position since 2006
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PhD students

In current position since 2020
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In current position since 2022
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In current position since 2022
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In current position since 2023
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In current position since 2021
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Postdoctoral fellows

In current position since 2017
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In current position since 2021
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In current position since 2023
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In current position since 2022
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In current position since 2021
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Technical/Research associates

In current position since 2023
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In current position since 2020
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In current position since 2024
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In current position since 2024
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PhD students

Joscha Weiss (2021-2024)
Zuzanna Kozicka (2018-2023)
Carlos Pla Prats (2017-2022)
Julia Reinert (2013-2018)
Weaam Ibrahim Mohamed (2012-2018)
Alessandro Potenza (2014-2015)
Eric Fischer (2010-2013)
Tianlai Shi (2008-2012)
Cian Stutz (2008-2012)
Frank Schmitges (2006-2011)

Postdoctoral fellows

Colby Sandate (2020-2024)
Zuzanna Kozicka (2023)
Manuel Carminati (2022-2023)
Alicia Michael (2017-2022)
Ganesh Pathare (2015-2022)
Dakota Suchyta (2018-2021)
Anja Basters (2015-2020)
Pooja Sadana (2017-2020)
Susanne Kassube (2014-2020)
Syota Matsumoto (2016-2020)
Georg Petzold (2014-2020)
Julius Rabl (2011-2018)
Michal Walczak (2015-2017)
Richard Bunker (2011-2016)
Andreas Daniel Schenk (2015-2016)
Eric Fischer (2013-2015)
Wassim Abdul Rahman (2011-2014)
Simone Cavadini (2010-2014)
Manjappa Lingaraju G (2009-2014)
Kerstin Boehm (2010-2014)
Tianlai Shi (2012-2013)
Nicolas Bocquet (2009-2013)
Andrea Scrima (2007-2011)
Markus Vogel (2007-2010)

Technical/Research associates

David Domjan (2022-2024)
Mina Haddawi (2022-2023)
Vivian Focht (2021-2023)
Eric Pfeiffer (2019-2021)
Georg Petzold (2020-2021)
Amparo Andres-Pons (2018-2020)
Simone Cavadini (2014-2020)
Andreas Daniel Schenk (2016-2020)
Hui San Tan (2019-2020)
Richard Bunker (2017-2019)
Mahamadou Faty (2006-2018)
Alessandro Potenza (2015-2017)
Wassim Abdul Rahman (2014-2017)
Manjappa Lingaraju G (2014-2016)
Julia Toth (2015)
Jacqueline Blunschi (2009)


Yves Jenni (2023-2024)
Stefan Schmitt (2022-2023)
Enola Schalk (2023)
David Domjan (2022)
Pius Galli (2020-2022)
Vivian Focht (2020-2021)
Lisa Stoos (2020-2021)
Joscha Weiss (2019-2021)
Eric Pfeiffer (2018-2019)
Ulrike Seeburg (2014-2015)
Eric Fischer (2008-2010)
Philipp Amsler (2007-2009)
Jonathan Aiwazian (2008-2009)
Renata Konickova (2007-2008)
Cian Stutz (2007-2008)

Visiting scientists

Alicia Michael (2023)
Seth Rubin (2016)
Lauren Monovich (2012)
Mariko Yoshizawa (2010)


PhD, University of Cambridge and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England
MPhil, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England
MA, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England

Positions held

Senior Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel
Junior Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland
Postdoctoral Fellow, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York
Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, Germany


European Research Council Advanced Grant
Election to EMBO
European Research Council Advanced Grant
VIVA Leading Scientist Award
European Research Council Young Investigator Grant
Long-Term Fellowship, Human Frontiers Science Program
Long-Term-Fellowship, EMBO
PhD Scholarship, Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes
Fellowship, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD)