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Cancer ResearchDepartment of Thoracic Surgery

Division of Cancer Research

Department of Thoracic Surgery

Contact and Directions


Our lab can be contacted most easily via e-mail to:


Bild: Heinle Wischer und Partner / Freie Architekten


Our lab is hosted in the new Center for Translational Cell Research (ZTZ):

Breisacher Str. 115
2nd floor, rooms 02.029 - 02.033
79106 Freiburg i. Br.

If you arrive by train, our lab can be reached in an easy 10-15 minute walk from the Freiburg Main Station (Freiburg Hbf): leave the main station at the north end to the next street crossing, take a left turn to cross under the train tracks and continue on this street which is already "Breisacher Straße" until you reach the lab on the left hand side.

Alternatively, you can reach us by tram #4 / #5 in the direction of Messe / Hornusstraße, respectively, until the stop "Robert-Koch-Straße" (3rd stop). The black building on the left from the tram stop when arriving from the main station is the ZTZ.

Public Transportation Network Plan
More Information on public transport in Freiburg: VAG Freiburg

If you arrive by car, leave the Autobahn A5 in Freiburg-Mitte (#62) and follow the B31a into the city. Follow the signs for "Universitätsklinikum" which will take you via "Berliner Allee" into "Breisacher Straße". You will find the main parking lot of the university hospital right in front of our building (with fee).


When you arrive at our building, please call -77556 or -77558 or -77571 from the front door and you will be picked up by one of our lab members at the ground floor.

Here, you can find the campus map with the ZTZ building.


Division of Cancer Research

Department of Thoracic Surgery

Center for Translational Cell Research (ZTZ)
Breisacher Str. 115
D-79106 Freiburg


Prof. Dr. Sven Diederichs

Division Head

+49 761 270-77571

More than 70% of the human Genome (blue) is transcribed into RNA forming the Transcriptome (red), while only less than 2% of the genome are needed to produce all proteins in a human cell constituting the Proteome (yellow).

RNA Biology

A particular emphasis of our research lies on the Molecular Biology of RNA and its associated molecules.

Recent insights into RNA biology induced a paradigm shift towards the recognition of RNAs as functionally important molecules - beyond serving as messengers for protein-encoding genes. A large fraction of the human genome is transcribed into RNA (more than 70%), while only 2% are protein-encoding. Non-protein-coding RNAs execute important functions in the cell. Very short non-coding RNAs, the microRNAs, play important roles in gene regulation. The tumor-suppressive or oncogenic role of many microRNAs and their frequent deregulation in tumors allow a first glimpse of the striking role that non-coding RNAs could play in cancer. Novel long non-coding RNAs (ncRNA, lncRNA, lincRNA) fulfill important functions in epigenetic regulation, chromatin remodeling or splicing. Taken together, the human cell contains many more RNAs than previously anticipated and many of them might just await their discovery as functionally important molecules in cancer.

Our research focuses on long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and their role in cancer. Based on expression profiling using microarrays as well as deep RNA sequencing of the whole transcriptome, we elucidate the cellular and molecular functions of differentially regulated ncRNAs in cancer using innovative techniques like the CRISPR/Cas9 system, in vivo RNA Affinity Purification and our own customized siRNA and CRISPR libraries targeting specifically lung cancer-associated lncRNAs. Our RNAi screens have uncovered numerous lncRNAs controlling several hallmarks of cancer including cancer cell viability, mitosis and Migration.

An emerging Topic of particular importance in our lab are RNA-Protein complexes, especially the new concept of RNA Dependence: R-DeeP (Mol Cell 2019).