Start main content

Academic Staff

Dr JAUCH, Ralf

Dr JAUCH, Ralf

  • MSc, PhD (U of Göttingen)
  • Associate Professor
L4-41, Laboratory Block, 21 Sassoon Road, Hong Kong
+852 3917 9511 (Office); +852 3917 9200 (Lab)
+852 2855 1254
  • Cellular reprogramming
  • Directed molecular evolution in mammalian cells
  • Synthetic transcription factors
  • Structure-function relationships in gene regulation
  • Deep sequencing and data science
  • 2013-2018: Principal Investigator and Professor. Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health. Chinese Academy of Sciences. Guangzhou, China.
  • 2008-2013: Research Scientist. Genome Institute of Singapore (A*STAR). Singapore.
  • 2006-2008: Postdoctoral fellow. Genome Institute of Singapore (A*STAR). Singapore.
  • 2002-2005: PhD. Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. University of Göttingen, Germany.
  • 2001-2002: MSc. Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. University of Göttingen, Germany.
  • 2000-2001: Visiting Student Molecular Biology.University of Manchester, UK
  • 1997-2000: Vordiplom. Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany

Our laboratory studies the sequence-function relationship of transcription factor (TF) mediated cell fate conversions. We use structural modelling and quantitative biochemical assays to analyse the formation of TF complexes on regulatory DNA in combination with deep sequencing techniques.  By contrasting the dynamic binding and gene regulation of paralogous TFs and engineered factors we learn about ‘enhancer codes’ directing pluripotency reprogramming and identify functionally critical structural elements. Lessons learned from these studies allowed us to identify artificially evolved transcription factors that substantially outperform their wild-type counterparts. Our present aims are to decode the functional basis for the enhanced function for artificially evolved transcription factors and to develop novel methods for the directed factor evolution in mammalian cells. Our vision is that any biomolecule-driven cell fate conversion can be enhanced with synthetic factors that will enable the application of reprogramming technologies in regenerative biomedicine.

  • High-throughput biochemistry and biophysics to elucidate the molecular basis for the combinatorial reprogramming factor function
  • Developing methods for the re-engineering of endogenous reprogramming factors by the directed evolution in mammalian cells
  • Decoding the molecular basis for the enhanced activity of artificially evolved reprogramming factors
  • Applying directed factor evolution in direct lineage reprogramming to produce functional cells for regenerative biomedicine
  1. Tan DS, Chen Y, Gao Y, Bednarz A, Wei Y, Malik V, Ho DH, Weng M, Ho SY, Srivastava Y, Velychko S, Yang X, Fan L, Kim J, Graumann J, Stormo GD, Braun T, Yan J, Scholer HR, Jauch R (2021) Directed evolution of an enhanced POU reprogramming factor for cell fate engineering. Mol Biol Evol. Epub
  2. Hou L, Wei Y, Lin Y, Wang X, Lai Y, Yin M, Chen Y, Guo X, Wu S, Zhu Y, Yuan J, Tariq M, Li N, Sun H, Wang H, Zhang X, Chen J, Bao X, Jauch R (2020) Concurrent binding to DNA and RNA facilitates the pluripotency reprogramming activity of Sox2. Nucleic Acids Res 48: 3869-3887
  3. Malik V, Glaser LV, Zimmer D, Velychko S, Weng M, Holzner M, Arend M, Chen Y, Srivastava Y, Veerapandian V, Shah Z, Esteban MA, Wang H, Chen J, Scholer HR, Hutchins AP, Meijsing SH, Pott S, Jauch R (2019) Pluripotency reprogramming by competent and incompetent POU factors uncovers temporal dependency for Oct4 and Sox2. Nat Commun 10: 3477
  4. Veerapandian V, Ackermann JO, Srivastava Y, Malik V, Weng M, Yang X, Jauch R (2018) Directed Evolution of Reprogramming Factors by Cell Selection and Sequencing. Stem Cell Reports 11: 593-606
  5. Jerabek S, Ng CK, Wu G, Arauzo-Bravo MJ, Kim KP, Esch D, Malik V, Chen Y, Velychko S, MacCarthy CM, Yang X, Cojocaru V, Scholer HR, Jauch R (2017) Changing POU dimerization preferences converts Oct6 into a pluripotency inducer. EMBO Rep 18: 319-333.
  6. Chang YK, Srivastava Y, Hu C, Joyce A, Yang X, Zuo Z, Havranek JJ, Stormo GD, Jauch R (2017) Quantitative profiling of selective Sox/POU pairing on hundreds of sequences in parallel by Coop-seq. Nucleic Acids Res 45: 832-845.
  7. Klaus M, Prokoph N, Girbig M, Wang X, Huang YH, Srivastava Y, Hou L, Narasimhan K, Kolatkar PR, Francois M, Jauch R (2016) Structure and decoy-mediated inhibition of the SOX18/Prox1-DNA interaction. Nucleic Acids Res 44: 3922-3935.
  8. Narasimhan K, Pillay S, Huang YH, Jayabal S, Udayasuryan B, Veerapandian V, Kolatkar P, Cojocaru V, Pervushin K, Jauch R (2015) DNA-mediated cooperativity facilitates the co-selection of cryptic enhancer sequences by SOX2 and PAX6 transcription factors. Nucleic Acids Res 43: 1513-1528.
  9. Esch, D., Vahokoski J., Goves, M.R., Pogenberg, V., Cojocaru V., Bruch, H., Han, D., Drexler, H.C.A., Arauzo-Bravo, M.J., Ng, C.K.L., Jauch, R., Wilmanns, M., Schöler,H.R. (2013) A unique Oct4 interface is crucial for reprogramming to pluripotency. Nature Cell Biol, 2013 Feb 3;15(3):295-301.
  10. Aksoy, I. *, Jauch, R. * (shared first author), Jiaxuan, C., Dyla, M., Bogu, G.K., Divakar, U., Ng, C.K., Yi, R.T., Hutchins, A.P., Kolatkar, P.R. et al. (2013) Oct4 switches partnering from Sox2 to Sox17 and reinterprets the enhancer code to specify primitive endoderm. EMBO J, Apr 3;32(7):938-53. – highlighted in “Have you seen section”.

Link to full publication list:

  • Chen  Y & Jauch R. An artificial POU protein for the ultra-fast and highly efficient induction of pluripotency. 201710367783.0. filing data 23.05.2017. Chinese patent. PCT pending
  • Jauch R, Kolatkar PR, Aksoy I, Stanton LW. Mutant Sox Proteins and methods of inducing pluripotency. US 2012/0220029 A1; Aug 30 2012.
  • Jauch R, Wahl MC et al. Crystallographic Structures of Mnk2 and Mnk1 proteins. US 2011/0159568. Jun 30 2011.
  • Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (17128918, 2019-2021)
  • Health and Medical Research Fund of Hong Kong (06174006, 2019-2022)
  • MOST China-EU Science and Technology Cooperation (2013DFE33080, 2014-2016)- 2 M RMB.
  • National Natural Science Foundation (NSFC Grant No. 31471238. 2015-2018) - 0.8 M RMB.
  • NSFC-Sweden mobility scheme (2016-2019) -0.1M RMB.
  • S&T Planning Project of Guangdong (2016A050503038, 2016-2018) -1 M RMB. PI.
  • National Natural Science Foundation (NSFC Grant No. 31771454. 2018-2021) - 0.7 M RMB.
  • CAS 100 Talent Award (2015-2017) - 2.6 M RMB. PI.
  • Since 2016: Deputy Director. GIBH – Max Planck Center for Regenerative Biomedicine. Guangzhou, China.
  • 2016-2018: Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Hong Kong
  • 2015: State High-end Foreign Expert of China//国家高端外国专家  
  • 2014: 1st Larysa Pevny Award for Excellence in SOX research (4th SOX Research Conference, Cleveland, USA)
  • 2014: 100-Talent award of the Chinese Academy of Sciences/中国科学院百人计划