Molecular level projects: Molecular factors and mechanisms

M-projects focus on the levels of analysis from cells to organs. We will elucidate genetic switches of sex development, analyze the genome and transcriptome, hormonal and metabolic activity and receptivity related to development and body composition.

What are the determinants, meanings and implications of sex on the molecular level? Research shows that both sex-related expression of genes and of hormone levels, which are involved in shaping phenotypes, are highly variable and that this diversity is due to both genetic and hormonal developmental programs. However, most authors assume that there are two sexes and work exclusively with binary categories in data aggregation and interpretation. By avoiding an a priori binary categorisation and by using DSD as a system to be investigated, the molecular level projects will elucidate the importance of factors involved in sex development and their consequences for sex diversity. The projects will focus mostly on extragenital cells and organs to highlight the variability of sex expression in extragenital development over time and lay the foundation for further studies on specific sex-related differences in the aetiology and pathogenesis of common diseases.