Charisios Tsiairis

Group News

Jun 11, 2024
Video: New light-sheet microscope for multicellular systems unveiled
May 2, 2023
Revealing how an embryo’s cells sync up
Jan 4, 2023
How cells choose between two fates
Dec 10, 2021
Mechanical forces shape the ‘immortal’ Hydra
All group news


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

In current position since 2016
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PhD students

In current position since 2022
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In current position since 2020
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In current position since 2022
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Technical/Research associates

In current position since 2016
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In current position since 2024
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PhD students

Maria Pappa (2018-2023)
Georgios Misailidis (2017-2022)
Jaroslav Ferenc (2016-2022)

Postdoctoral fellows

Fabian Braukmann (2020-2022)
Verena Schreier (2019-2020)
Manuel Schmitz (2018)


Josephine Cooper (2023-2024)
Marie Dumont (2023)
Leonardo Thommen (2022-2023)
Veatriki Gkagkadelli (2023)
Youn Le Cras (2022)
Suzie Langlois (2021)
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