Academic Profile : Faculty

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Asst Prof Alexander Ludwig
Assistant Professor, School of Biological Sciences
External Links
2013 - 2018: Senior Research Fellow. School of Biological Sciences, NTU, Singapore.
2008 - 2013: Career Development Fellow at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge UK
2003 - 2008: PhD; Department of Biochemistry, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Cell polarity is a fundamental property of almost all cell types, and its loss or deregulation frequently leads to human diseases such as cancer. My lab is interested in the mechanisms that establish and maintain polarity in epithelial cells. We are particularly interested in understanding how membrane compartmentalization of the cell cortex drives epithelial tissue morphogenesis on the cellular, molecular, and ultrastructural level.

One line of research focuses on the apical junctional complex (AJC), an intricate membrane compartment that is located at the boundary between the apical and the lateral membrane. The AJC plays many important roles in epithelial cells; it connects adjacent cells into a tight monolayer, it controls the passage of molecules across epithelial tissues, and it serves as a diffusion barrier that physically separates apical and baso-lateral membrane components. In addition, the AJC serves as a signaling and trafficking platform for epithelial morphogenesis and plasticity, and it is linked to the cortical cytoskeleton to regulate tissue mechanics. We are interested in the nanometer-scale organisation of the AJC and in identifying and functionally characterising novel regulators of this intriguing multi-functional membrane domain.

Another line of research tackles the regulation of the protein network that sets up cell polarity in the first place. Here we focus our efforts on the apical Crumbs polarity module. We are interested in how the Crumbs module operates during epithelial tissue morphogenesis and how loss of its activity causes cell polarity defects and disease.

My lab combines cell biological, biochemical, and structural approaches with high-resolution imaging including light and electron microscopy and correlative imaging.
  • Development of a toolkit to characterize signalling via extracellular vesicles in vivo
  • Endomembrane System Architecture, Dynamics, and Functions in Aging Cells and Tissues (PI Alexander Ludwig)
  • Molecular Mechanisms and Spatio-temporal Control of Epithelial Lumen Formation
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Membrane Compartmentalisation in Cell Polarity
  • Native architecture of epithelial tight junctions studied by in situ electron cryo tomography
Courses Taught
BS2100 - Molecular and Cell Biology Techniques Level 2