Joerg Betschinger

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Dec 4, 2019
Safeguarding one-way traffic
Jan 14, 2019
A metabolic checkpoint for embryonic stem cell differentiation
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FMI report pages

Joerg Betschinger

Cell fate transitions

Please note that the Betschinger lab is being closed and is not accepting PhD applications anymore.

Cell identity is encoded in self-propagating regulatory networks that confer cell state stability. Most cells, however, acquire their identity during development by transiting through progressively restricted cell states. Thus, destabilization of existing and emergence of prospective regulatory networks underlies cell fate determination, and is reflected in the lineage progression from stem and progenitor cells into mature cell types.

In order to execute differentiation, stem and progenitor networks have to be dispersed and differentiation-specific circuits need to be established. Failure to do so infringes development and tissue regeneration, and also contributes to tumor-propagation. While cell identity networks are fairly well described, transitions between them are less studied.

Our research aims at deciphering mechanisms and logics driving cell state transitions using pluripotent stem cells as a paradigm. In particular, by combining genetic and biochemical approaches, we target the identification of modules that regulate cell state changeover, to specify the underlying network dynamics, and to deduce routines conferring network plasticity.

Joerg Betschinger

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.

Mayer D, Stadler MB, Rittirsch M, Hess D, Lukonin I, Winzi M, Smith A, Buchholz F, Betschinger J (2020) Zfp281 orchestrates interconversion of pluripotent states by engaging Emht1 and Zic2

EMBO J. 39:e102591

Villegas F, Lehalle D, Mayer D, Rittirsch M, Stadler MB, Zinner M, Olivieri D, Vabres P, Duplomb-Jego L, de Bont JM, Duffourd Y, Duijkers F, Avila M, Geneviève D, Houcinat N, Jouan T, Kuentz P, Lichtenbelt KD, Thauvin-Robinet C, St-Onge J, Thevenon J, van Gassen KLI, van Haelst M, van Koningsbruggen S, Hess D, Smallwood S, Rivière J, Faivre L, Betschinger J (2019) Lysosomal signaling licenses embryonic stem cell differentiation via inactivation of Tfe3

Cell Stem Cell. 24(2):257-270

Betschinger J (2017) Charting developmental dissolution of pluripotency

J Mol Biol. 429(10):1441-58.

Betschinger J, Nichols J, Dietmann S, Corrin PS, Paddison PJ, Smith A (2013) Exit from Pluripotency is Gated by Intracellular Redistribution of the bHLH Transcription Factor Tfe3

Cell 153(2): 335-47

Betschinger J, Mechtler K, Knoblich JA (2006) Asymmetric Segregation of the Tumor Suppressor Brat Regulates Self-Renewal in Drosophila Neural Stem Cells

Cell 124(6): 1241-53

Betschinger J, Mechtler K, Knoblich JA (2003) The Par Complex Directs Asymmetric Cell Division by Phosphorylating the Cytoskeletal Protein

Nature 422(6929): 326-30

Full list of publications
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Group leader

In current position since 2013
» Contact details


PhD students

Verena Waehle (2015-2021)
Daniela Mayer (2013-2020)
Florian Villegas (2014-2017)

Postdoctoral fellows

Daniel Olivieri (2014-2021)

Technical/Research associates

Melanie Rittirsch (2013-2021)


Sujani Paramanathan (2019-2020)
Kim Kira Witetzek (2019)
Katell Kunin (2017)
Marietta Zinner (2015)

Visiting scientists

Karolina Guja (2018)
Shota Nakagawa (2017)


PhD; Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria
Diplom; Institute of Biochemistry, University of Tuebingen, Germany

Positions held

Junior Group Leader; Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland
Research Associate; Wellcome Trust/MRC Stem Cell Centre, University of Cambridge, UK
Postdoctoral Fellow; Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Vienna, Austria


HFSP Long-Term fellowship
EMBO Long-Term fellowship
Vienna Biocenter PhD Award
VWR International Prize of the Austrian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology