Research work performed in the Department focuses on elucidating signal pathways from the surface into the interior of a cell – in healthy as well as in disease organisms. The scientists are focussing especially at so-called receptor tyrosine kinases and the signalling pathways activated by them. When coming into contact with a growth factor or a hormone, these enzymes stick phosphate groups to specific proteins in the cell. In this way, they activate molecular signal transmission pathways in the cell: The cellular machinery controlling the way in which genetic information is read in the nucleus of the cell reacts to the signals by activating or deactivating genes. In this way, kinases can promote specific cell functions, inhibit or modify them. Their direct counterparts are the phosphatases, which remove phosphate groups from proteins and thereby control signals.