Prof. Dr. Markus Affolter

University of Basel
Klingelbergstrasse 50 / 70
CH - 4056 Basel
Biozentrum, Room 200B Phone: +41 61 207 20 72
Curriculum Vitae

Administrative Assistant

Helen Preiss
Biozentrum, Room 210
Phone: +41 61 207 09 31
Fax: +41 61 207 20 78


Weltenreise 3, Blutgefässbildung am Beispiel des Zebrafisch (German)
Forscherportrait Prof. Markus Affolter (German)


Relocation of proteins with a new nanobody tool

The research group of Prof. Markus Affolter at the Biozentrum of the University...more

Nanobodies from camels enable the study of organ growth

Prof. Markus Affolter’s research group, at the Biozentrum of the University of...more

Pruning of blood vessels: cells can fuse with themselves

Cells of the vascular system of vertebrates can fuse with themselves. This...more

Research group Markus Affolter

How do cellular networks develop?

Information about cellular and molecular processes involved in the development of branched organs and blood vessels may provide valuable evidence for understanding the healing process after disease or injury.

Drosophila wing size control depends on the spreading of the Dpp morphogen.

During the development of a multicellular organism, a living entity develops from a single cell – the fertilized egg. Our research group wants to understand more about the underlying cellular and molecular processes involved in developing tissues and organs. We are interested in determining how cells move in order to reach a particular location and how the size of an organism is established. We are also doing research to uncover how complex cellular networks, such as the vascular system, are formed.

Basics of organ development in the fruit fly

We are using genetic methods to analyze the development of various organs in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In order to do this, we have developed special techniques which allow us to follow organ development in the living animal with the aid of fluorescent proteins. These studies have enabled us to develop models describing the formation of the tracheal system and the wings in precise detail (Figure 1).

Development of blood vessels in the zebrafish

Insight gained from tracheal development in fruit flies is helping us to understand the development of the vascular system in higher animals such as the zebrafish. We are investigating how the various blood vessels are generated and how they are combined into a network. We are particularly interested in the way in which vessels are remodeled during development, when they are injured, and in disease states. We are pioneering the use of fluorescent microscopy to demonstrate these cellular processes in the living, almost transparent, zebrafish. Detailed understanding of these processes could help to improve the treatment of diseases such as cancer, by trying to effectively suppress the blood supply to the growing tumor.

Movie: Blood vessel fusion