Laboratory of Chemical and Synthetic Systems Biology

we are recruiting students and postdoc! apply by May 31st, 2023!

at SciLifeLab Stockholm

Our laboratory develops new synthetic and chemical biology methods to perform ‘biochemistry in the living cell’.  The aim is to understand protein function in a mechanistic and quantitative manner, in the context of the living cell. To perform specific and quantitative biochemical assays in the living cell, two key challenges have to be addressed: first, how can we make accurate and quantitative measurements in the cellular environment?  Second, how can we introduce specific perturbations controlled in space and time? To this end, we are developing tools to engineer proteins in living cells based on genetic code expansion and unnatural amino acid mutagenesis. We aim, for example, to control and probe chromatin proteins using light-activated and bioorthogonal chemistries. These methods, combined with quantitative, high-throughput, proteomic and genomic read-outs, allow us to dissect the complex mechanisms governing cellular processed involved in DNA metabolism, gene regulation, cellular signaling. Having a long-standing interest in chromatin biology, we currently focus on mechanism of chromatin dynamics, histone modifications and epigenetic inheritance. We are studying the function of Polycomb group proteins and their histone marks in setting and maintaining developmental gene expression programs. We are also interested in the molecular underpinnings of pluripotency and mechanism that initiate lineage commitment in early embryonic development. Lastly, we have a separate research program in understanding the role of small proteins and peptides in cells, again relying on our synthetic biology toolbox to elucidate their function in the cellular context.


Collaboration with Alexander Meissner lab published in Nature Cell Biology

Simon Elsässer receives ERC Consolidator Grant

Collaboration with Sebastian Bultmann lab published in Nucleic Acid Research

Welcome Master students Christina Horstmann, Laura Seponaviciute, Janice Linne, Michael Lorenz Baggio, Malva Doroshenko, Milan Dordević

Collaboration with Claus Stoorgard Sørensen lab published in Science

MINUTE-ChIP analysis pipeline by Carmen Navarro on bioRxiv

Congratulations to new Drs. Lea van Husen and Jing Lyu!

Welcome Computational Biologist Szabolcs Hetey to the Team

Elsässer lab
and Epigenica AB receive second ERC Proof of Concept Grant

Rui Shao
‘s paper now out in Molecular Systems Biology

Jing Lyu
‘s G4 mapping preprint now accepted at NAR

Birthe and Johannes publish new ncaAA, picolylazide-lysine, in Frontiers in Chemistry

We were able to purchase our own mass spectrometer generous support from IngaBritt och Arne Lundbergs Forskningsstiftelse

Congratulations Anna Spinner for winning a Bayer Foundation Fellowship

Lea’s and Anna’s paper on engineered hiPSC is out in ChemBioChem

Welcome master students Eva Soto, Bruno Urién, Xinhe Xing, Florian Ortis

Epigenica AB founded as part of  ERC Proof-of-Concept Grant

Congratulations Dörte Schlesinger on winning the SciLifeLab “Communicate Your Science” competition

Read Rui Shao‘s preprint here: how to measure RNA Polymerase speed?

Congratulations Dörte Schlesinger on her Review Article in FEBS J

Simon Elsässer – Ragnar Söderberg Fellow in Medicine from Ragnar Söderbergs stiftelse on Vimeo.

Congratulations Lorenzo Lafranchi, Dörte Schlesinger on their paper in JACS

Congratulations Carmen Navarro, Jing, Anna, Rozina on their paper in Nature Communications

Elsässer lab and Swedish business developers receive an ERC Proof-of-Concept Grant 

Simon Elsässer
is selected for SSF Future Research Leader 7 Program

Congratulations Jing Lyu, Angelo Salazar, Lea van Husen for passing their half-time reviews this spring with flying colors

Welcome thesis students Linus Brinkenstråhle, Hanna SchwämmleMichael Schrempf, Adrià Gassó

Welcome computational PhD student Yuying Cheng

Simon Elsässer
is appointed as Wallenberg Academy Fellow

Lab retreat with team building and strategic sessions at Solvik

Welcome visiting students Maximilian Hornisch (Munich), Jana Braunger (Heidelberg) and Mrinal Panday (KTH)

Dörte Schlesinger
attends the MBL Physiology Course 2019

Simon Elsässer takes up visiting fellowship at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin

Histones win the Lasker Award: Congratulation to David Allis and Michael Grunstein

Welcome summer students Ruth Lappalainen and Laura Neises

Dörte Schlesinger
wins Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds PhD Fellowship

Welcome master and project students Turid Everitt, Alexandra Morscher, Johannes Heimgärtner, Javier Gomez, Sofia Kalaidopoulou, Minh Nguyen Trung

Rui Shao
 is accepted to The Swedish Bioinformatics Advisory Program

Björn Högberg, Ana Texeira, Simon Elsässer receive collaborative Wallenberg Project Grant

Welcome summer and master students Rumeysa Ermis, Franziska Liss, Matthias Block, Kyle Kimler, Marianne Simon, Justine Brun

Computer Scientist Carmen Navarro Luzon joins the lab

Elsässer lab receives Wallenberg Bioinformatics support grant

Dörte Schlesinger joins the lab

Rozina Caridha joins the lab

Lorenzo Lafranchi and Angelo Salazar join the lab

Elsässer lab receives a two collaborative doctoral education grants from KI

Elsässer lab receives a Cancerfonden grant

Simon Elsässer is named a Ragnar Soderberg Fellow in Medicine 2016

Elsässer lab receives a grant from the
The Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine

Rui Shao
joins lab on CSC PhD student scholarhip.

 Philip Yung joins the lab on Croucher Foundation Fellowship

Elsässer lab receives an ERC Starting Grant!!

Welcome summer student Laura Neises

Welcome new students Helena Ishak, Alexander Kühn and Mareike Bach

Thanks for a contribution by the Clas Groschinsky Foundation

Meet Simon at the Bridging Worlds Through Science conference

Congratulations to Maria Pires passing her MSc defense

Welcome new Students Banushree Kumar and Annika Faucon

Congratulations to Evan Alsaleem passing his MSc defense

Welcome new students Lea van Husen, Daniel Horn, Taotao Xiang

Anna-Maria Katsori wins Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation Postdoc Fellowship

Simon Elsässer receives grant from The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education for establishing an international collaboration for Alzheimer’s research

Simon Elsässer has been appointed to the Global Young Academy

Elsässerlab receives grant from Åke Wibergs Foundation

We are always looking for talented Master, PhD candidates and Postdocs

Please contact us for more information at simon at

Funding from the Strategic Research Programme in Molecular Biosciences (strategiska forskningsområdet Molekylär biovetenskap)

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