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Welcome to the doctoral program Chromosome Dynamics!

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DNA encodes the genetic information, the blueprint for any living organism. In higher eukaryotes, it resides in the cell nucleus, is associated with proteins forming chromatin and partitioned into linear units called chromosomes. The readout of genetic information, its maintenance and faithful transmission from one generation to the next depends on intact chromosomes. Untimely structural changes, failure to protect DNA from deterioration, impaired DNA repair or missegregation of chromosomes during cell division seriously compromise the fitness of the organism and cause numerous pathologies. Understanding the molecular basis of chromosome maintenance and dynamics is therefore essential for human health and fertility, for plant breeding but also for industrial and food production.

The Campus Vienna Biocenter (VBC) is a research hub for groups with strong records in chromosome biology. The implementation of the FWF-funded doctoral program (DK) “Chromosome Dynamics” allowed the establishment of a well-structured educational framework for this topic. The principal investigators contributing to the program make students familiar with a wide range of unanswered questions in the field of chromosome biology, different model organisms, experimental approaches, techniques and perspectives. Research topics include (somatic and meiotic) DNA repair, chromosome organisation, movement and segregation, telomere function, dynamics of chromatin modifications and gene regulation. Research is performed in mice, mammalian cell culture, nematodes, ciliates, plants and yeasts. The DK considerably extended the teaching dedicated towards chromosome biology. It established platforms for seminars and retreats to train students to present their research, critically evaluate their results and foster intellectual exchange.The doctorate program organizes special workshops, with an emphasis on state-of-the-art techniques for chromosome research, scientific conduct and data presentation and career planning to enable students to reach beyond their actual PhD topic while gaining a comprehensive understanding of ‘chromosome metabolism’.

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