Charisios Tsiairis


FMI report pages

Charisios Tsiairis

Self-organizing cellular systems

A milestone was reached when cells, the atoms of life, got assembled in organized multicellular entities. We are interested in identifying the conditions and rules that enable groups of cells to acquire an ordered structure, especially when external guidance is absent through self-organization.

A clump of randomly mixed cells from the freshwater polyp Hydra represents an extreme case of self-organizing abilities. These cells are able to self-organize into an entire new animal. As the spherical clump of cells tries to build an animal, it goes through mechanochemical oscillations and we want to understand how such behavior facilitates patterning.

Another cellular system from mammals that displays self-organizing properties are the cells of presomitic mesoderm, an embryonic tissue that gives rise to the vertebrae. These cells get organized around evenly spaced centers. From these centers a "Mexican wave" of gene expression sweeps the organizing tissue. We want to know how cells exchange information and adjust their rhythm to generate wave patterns.

In the lab we use quantitative live imaging of these systems in combination with chemical and genetic perturbations. We are exploiting tools from mathematics and physics to understand the complex phenomena of self-organizing cellular systems.

Charisios Tsiairis


Group leader

Charisios Tsiairis (Group leader)

PhD students

Jaroslav Ferenc (PhD student)
Georgios Misailidis (PhD student)
Clara Nuninger (PhD student)
Maria Pappa (PhD student)

Technical/Research associates

Jacqueline Ferralli (Lab manager)


Postdoctoral fellows

Verena Schreier (2019-2020)
Manuel Schmitz (2018)


Catherine Nagy (2019)


PhD, Biochemistry, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
MA, Molecular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
BSc, Biology, University of Patras, Patras, Greece

Positions held

Junior Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland
Postdoctoral Fellow, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany


EIPOD Fellowship
DFG Exzellenzcluster Fellowship