Our group has a long-standing interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying Wnt signalling to beta-catenin via Dishevelled. This signalling cascade is an ancient cell communication pathway operating in all animals, to specify cell fates and control body patterning during embryonic development, and stem cell renewal in adult tissues. If incorrectly activated in human tissues, beta-catenin drives cancer. Most notably, colorectal cancer is initiated in the human intestinal epithelium by inactivating mutations of the APC tumour suppressor (a negative regulator of beta-catenin) or by activating mutations in beta-catenin itself. Activated beta-catenin is also a potent oncogene in other cancers, but is thought to be undruggable. Ultimately, our work is aimed at discovering new therapeutic targets for treating cancer.
In this website, I will provide concise summaries of our work since starting my own group in Zürich in 1986, and since our move to LMB in 1991, up to our current projects. I will also provide a list of Bienz group alumni and their destinations, and some brief personal information regarding my own leadership and mentoring activities.