Judith Zaugg (Group Leader) contact: judith.zaugg [at] (Curriculum Vitae)

Judith B Zaugg

Judith studied Chemical Biology at ETH Zurich and did her PhD at the EMBL-EBI in computational functional genomics, investigating non-canonical transcriptional regulatory mechanism in yeast. For her postdoc she went to Stanford University where she studied the genetic basis of regulatory variation across healthy human individuals, integrating  multiple histone ChIP-Seq for multiple individuals with physical interactome data (Hi-C, ChIA-PET) to identify genetic associations between distal regulatory elements.
Her main research interest at EMBL Heidelberg is to understand the molecular basis of complex genetic traits and diseases using genome-wide data of various molecular phenotypes, and developing multi-omics data integration approaches.
Apart from research, Judith likes mountain biking, skiing, running and having fun with her three kids.

Christian Arnold (Staff Bioinformatician) contact: christian.arnold [at]

Christian Arnold

Christian studied Bioinformatics at University Leipzig. After that, he worked as a research fellow at Harvard University for a year before starting his PhD at University of Leipzig in the field of epigenetics. Specifically, he regarded chromatin as a biological computer and studied its properties, computational power, and disease relevance.
His main research interests are efficient algorithm development, developing automated pipelines for biological data analysis, epigenetics, phylogenetics and, more generally, finding creative solutions for a wide range of bioinformatics challenges.
Apart from research, Christian likes to meet (new) people and to play chess. He is also a Bouldering aficionado and likes to travel.

Daria Bunina (Postdoctoral EIPOD fellow joint with Noh lab) contact: daria.bunina [at]

bunina_dariaDaria studied biochemistry at Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia and did her PhD at Heidelberg University, during which she analyzed effects of non-coding transcripts on protein expression of yeast genes.
Her main research interest in the Zaugg and Noh labs is to understand the interplay between different levels of epigenetic regulation (such as chromatin structure, histone modifications and DNA methylation) responsible for plasticity in gene expression.

Apart from research, Daria likes freestyle swimming, travelling, learning languages, dancing and reading.

Brian (Mang Ching) Lai (Postdoc) contact: mangching.lai [at]

Brian studied Biochemistry at Essex University, and did his Master’s degree in Clinical Neuroscience at University College London. He went on to complete his DPhil at Oxford University in Molecular Neurodegeneration, studying the allele-specific gene splicing mechanisms in parkinsonian disorders.
His main research interest in the Zaugg group is to understand the regulatory effects of chromatin and downstream changes in both physiological ageing and age-related disorders using multiomics approaches.

Apart from research, Brian likes tennis, going to the pub, spontaneous trips, gaming, and dancing.

Irene de Teresa Trueba  (Postdoctoral EIPOD fellow joint with Beck, Mahamid, and Mueller labs) contact: [at]

deTeresaIreneIrene studied mathematics and applied mathematics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and did a PhD in applied mathematics at the University of Delaware. She developed nondestructive techniques to identify and locate geometrical features of an object based on inverse scattering.
Her current research interest is to develop computational and statistical tools for in integrating in situ cryoelectronic tomograms and with multiomics data.

Apart from research, Irene likes reading, traveling and dancing.

Neha Daga  (Postdoctoral fellow) contact: neha.daga [at]

Neha studied Biotechnology at University of Nottingham, U.K. After that, she worked at a Structural Genomics Consortium (Oxford) before starting her  PhD at University of Zurich. During her PhD, she studied different off-target mechanisms of siRNAs and predicting these unintended effects using large scale functional genomics screens.
Her main interest in the Zaugg group is to integrate disease-associated genetic variants with gene regulatory network reconstruction using large-scale gene regulatory networks in  T-cells to study autoimmune diseases.
Apart from work, she likes travelling, hiking and meeting new people and knowing different cultures.

Mathias Andres Savar Cortes  (Postdoctoral EIPOD fellow joint with Noh lab) contact: mathias.saver [at]

Mathias studied Biochemistry at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. During his Masters, he studied transcriptional regulation of neuronal genes. Then, he moved to the USA and joined a joint PhD program between the University of Chicago and the Janelia Research Campus (HHMI), where he studied behavioral neuroscience in the fruitfly Drosophila. During his doctoral work, Mathias developeda high-trhoughput behavioral assay to probe for reward neurons in the fly.
His main interest in the Zaugg and Noh labs is to use a combination of in vitro generated neurons and next-generation sequencing techniques to study the neurobiology of schizophrenia.
Apart from research, Mathias is equally passionate about Bouldering, intense gym workouts, meditation, hiking and spending time in nature.

Mikael Marttinen (Postdoctoral fellow joint with Noh lab)(contact at mikael.marttinen [at]

Mikael studied Biochemistry and did his PhD at the University of Eastern Finland, during which he analysed the transcriptomic and phosphoproteomic alterations associated with Alzheimer’s disease-related neurofibrillary pathology in human brain.
His main interest in the Zaugg and Noh labs is to use a combination of in vitro generated neurons and glia cells and next generation sequencing techniques to study the molecular phenotypes of Alzheimer’s disease-associated risk variants.

Apart from research, Mikael likes bouldering, hiking/camping, and making music.

Ignacio Ibarra Del Río (Postdoctoral fellow) (contact at ignacio.ibarra [at] 


Ignacio studied Biochemistry at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and did his Master’s Degree on the modeling of full atom DNA structures by the satisfaction of spatial restraints.
His main research interests in the Zaugg group are protein-DNA interactions and the integration of multiple molecular data for a better understanding of mechanisms and function of cooperative transcription factor binding.
Apart from research, Ignacio likes to play guitar/ukelele, cooking and reading.

Ivan Berest (PhD student) contact: berest [at]


Ivan did his Undergraduate studies at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine and got his Master degree from Heidelberg University, where he was interested in understanding CTCF binding from ATAC-seq data.
His main research interest in the Zaugg lab lies in identifying transcription factor footprints and applying this information to study the effect of genetic variants on transcription factor binding.
Apart from research, Ivan likes reading, playing football and travelling.

Olga Sigalova (PhD student joint with Furlong lab) contact: olga.sigalova [at]


Olga studied mathematical modeling in economics at Lomonosov Moscow State University and did her Master thesis in behavioral game theory. After that, she completed Moscow Bioinformatics School and worked in a bioinformatic lab on projects related to bacterial comparative genomics.
Her main research interest in the Furlong and Zaugg labs is to understand robustness underlying gene regulatory programs in embryonic development.
Apart from research, Olga likes hiking, visiting historical places, reading and learning foreign languages.

Anna Mathoudaki (PhD student at MMPU) contact: anna.mathoudaki [at]

Anna studied Biology in University of Patras, Greece. After that, she enrolled in the Joint Graduate Program of Molecular Biology and Biomedicine at University of Crete and IMBB-FORTH where she conducted her master thesis about disease variants in healthy populations. Anna’s main research interest in the Zaugg group is to assess the genome-wide chromatin accessibility and gene-expression profiles of the bone marrow niche stem cells, upon ageing and in acute myeloid leukemia, using bulk and single-cell sequencing approaches.
When Anna is not in the lab, she is most likely meeting new people, travelling, enjoying the sun or any combination of the above.

Frauke Huth (Master student) contact: frauke.huth [at]

Frauke is a Biochemistry Master student at Heidelberg University and is interested in single-cell sequencing techniques and epigenetics. Currently, she focuses on extending her knowlege about data science and bioinformatics. Her main interest in the Zaugg lab is to investigate the effect of epigenetic modifications on chromatin accessibility and transcription factor binding.
Outside of the lab, Frauke enjoys taekwondo training, hiking and reading.

Saudat Alishayeva (Bachelor student) contact: saudat.alishayeva [at]

Saudat is a Bachelor student majoring in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul/Turkey. She is interested in evo-devo, differentiation, (epi)genetics and omics-based technologies. Saudat’s main research interest in the Zaugg lab is to study human bone marrow stem cells and their alterations in disease and aging.
In her free time, Saudat enjoys listening to TED podcasts, hiking, growing houseplants and reading books in the hygge-ish atmosphere.

Alumni of the Zaugg lab

Amirreza Shaeiri (Intern 2019); now student at Sharif University

Andrew Ó hEachteirn (Intern 2018-2019)

Mariana Ruiz-Velasco (Predoc 2014-2018, Postdoc 2018-2019); now Data Scientist at BASF

Armando Reyes Palomares (Postdoc 2015-2018); now Postdoc at Universidad Complutense Madrid

Giovanni Palla (Master student 2017/2018); now PhD student at Helmholtz Centre Munich

José Bautista (Visiting scholar 2017/2018)

Stefan Kleinsorg (Master Student 2016/2017)

Rafail Nikolaos Tasakis (Visiting Scientist 2016/2017); now PhD student at DKFZ Heidelberg

Gesa Hillmer (Master student 2016/2017); now at Springer in Heidelberg

Constantin Ahlmann-Eltze (Master student 2016/2017); now PhD student at EMBL

Manish Goel (Master student 2016); now PhD student at MPI Cologne

Rocío Rodríguez López (Visiting PhD student 2016); PhD student at University of Málaga

Ece Kartal (Visiting Scientist 2015); now PhD student at EMBL Heidelberg

Pooja Bhat (Visiting Scientist 2015); now PhD student at IMBA Vienna

Ana Belen Solis Pinson (Visiting Scientist 2014/2015)