Research Interests

Sukanya Guhathakurta, equipped with a Minerva Fast Track Fellowship, establishes her research group focused on unraveling the intricate interplay between metabolic processes and epigenetic mechanisms governing cell fate decisions starting in 2024.

My PhD work provided novel insights into how canonical nuclear epigenetic factors could have enzymatic functions in other sub-cellular compartments such as the mitochondria to facilitate their function. Using mouse and human patient-derived primary cells, I could show that the pathological manifestations of mutations in epigenetic factors could be influenced by mitochondrial and metabolic imbalance, besides anticipated transcription dysregulation.

My future research are geared towards achieving a deeper understanding of the crosstalk between metabolism and epigenetics during human development processes employing unbiased, data-centric methodologies. Leveraging my expertise in biochemistry and molecular cell biology, my new lab intends to implement state-of-the-art high-throughput imaging and genomics to address the key research questions of my team.

As a Minerva Fast Track group on “Mechanisms of metabolic and epigenetic control of cell fate decisions”, we will use cutting-edge resources in the institute and foster regional and international collaborations to advance the understanding of the relationship between metabolism and epigenetics in the context of human pathologies.


Curriculum Vitae

  • Born in India. Undergraduate studies: BSc in Microbiology at St. Xavier’s College, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India & MSc in Biotechnology at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India
  • 2016-2022 PhD Studies in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics & University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 2022-2024 Postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Asifa Akhtar at Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg, Germany
  • 2024 Minerva FastTrack Research Group Leader “Mechanisms of metabolic and epigenetic control of cell fate decisions” at Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg, Germany


Selected publications

  1. Guhathakurta, S, Erdogdu, NU, Hoffmann, JJ, Grzadzielewska, I, Schendzielorz, A, Martensson, CU, Corrado, M, Karoutas, A, Seyfferth, J, Warscheid, B, Pfanner, N, Becker, T & Akhtar, A: COX17 acetylation via MOF-KANSL complex promotes mitochondrial function and integrity. Nature Metabolism (2023).

  2. Sheikh BN, Guhathakurta S, Tsang TH, Schwabenland M, Renschler GV, Herquel B, Bhardwaj V, Holz H, Stehle T, Bondareva O, Aizarani N, Mossad O, Kretz O, Reichardt W, Chatterjee A, Braun L, Thevenon J, Sartelet H, Blank T, Grün D, Elverfeldt D, Huber TB, Vestweber D, Avilov S, Prinz M, Buescher JM, & Akhtar A: Neural metabolic imbalance induced by MOF dysfunction triggers pericyte activation and breakdown of vasculature. Nature Cell Biology 22, pp. 828-841 (2020).

  3. Karoutas A, Szymanski W, Rausch T, Guhathakurta S, Rog-Zielinska EA, Pyronnet R, Seyfferth J, Chen HR, Leeuw R, Herquel B, Kimura H, Mittler G, Kohl P, Medalia O, Korbel JO, & Akhtar A: The NSL complex maintains nuclear architecture stability via lamin A/C acetylation. Nature Cell Biology 21, pp. 1248-1260 (2019).

  4. Sheikh BN, Bondareva O, Guhathakurta S, Tsang TH, Sikora K, Aizarani N, Sagar, Holz H, Grün D, Hein L, & Akhtar A: Systematic identification of cell-cell communication networks in the developing brain. iScience 21, pp. 273-287 (2019).

  5. Sheikh BN*, Guhathakurta S*, & Akhtar A: The non-specific lethal (NSL) complex at the crossroads of transcriptional control and cellular homeostasis. EMBO Reports 20, p. e47630 (2019).

    *Equal contribution

Go to Editor View