Synthetic Physiology

Harald Janovjak

Harald Janovjak’s group works at the interface of synthetic biology and mammalian physiology in the new research field synthetic physiology. The past decades have seen the emergence of synthetic biology, and with its paradigm ‘build to understand’, synthetic biology has proven to tackle the most complex biological problems. The Janovjak group is now exploring synthetic principles for understanding and manipulating animal physiology. In past few years, their focus was on the ‘synthetic’ of synthetic physiology and the group established new methods to control the signaling and behavior of nerve cells, cancer cells and key cell populations involved in metabolism. Their methods offer spatial and temporal precision and included but were not limited to optogenetics. The group is currently transitioning to the ‘physiology’ of synthetic physiology with a focus on understanding/manipulating cell signaling and behavior in tissues affected by disease. The groups interdisciplinary research builds on the development of new molecular tools and their applications in animal models (mouse and Drosophila) of disease.

Harald Janovjak
Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria)
Am Campus 1
A – 3400 Klosterneuburg
Phone: +43 (0)2243 9000-4201

CV and publication list

Janovjak Group website

Alexandra Mally

Phone: +43 (0)2243 9000-1105

Contact for sales representatives
Miroslava Spanova

Phone (laboratory): +43 (0)2243 9000-7439


  • Alvaro Ingles Prieto, Postdoc
  • Stephanie Kainrath, PhD Student
  • Kristian Kolev, Technician
  • Christina Manner, Scientific Intern
  • Catherine McKenzie, PhD Student
  • Eva Reichhart, PhD Student
  • Michael Riepl, Scientific Intern
  • Laura Rodriguez, Postdoc
  • Miroslava Spanova, Technician

      Selected Publications

      • E. Reichhart, A. Ingles-Prieto, A.-M. Tichy, C. McKenzie & H. Janovjak. A phytochrome sensory domain permits receptor activation by red light. Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed. (2016) 55: 6339-6342.
      • A. Ingles-Prieto, E. Reichhart, M.K. Muellner, M. Nowak, S.M. Nijman, M. Grusch & H. Janovjak. Light-assisted small molecule screening against protein kinases. Nature Chemical Biology (2015) 11: 952-954.
      • C. McKenzie, I. Sanchez-Romero & H. Janovjak. Flipping the photoswitch: Ion channels under light control. Advances in Experimental Biology and Medicine (2015) 869: 101-117.
      • M. Grusch, K. Schelch, R. Riedler, E. Reichhart, C. Differ, W. Berger, A. Inglés-Prieto & H. Janovjak. Spatio‐temporally precise activation of engineered receptor tyrosine kinases by light. EMBO Journal (2014) 33: 1713-1726.


      Since 2011 Assistant Professor, IST Austria
      2010–2011 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Munich, Germany
      2006–2010 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley, USA
      2005 PhD, University of Technology, Dresden, Germany

      Selected Distinctions

      2011 HFSP Young Investigator Grant
      2011 EU FP7 Career Integration Grant
      2007–2009 Long-term fellow of the European Molecular Biology Organization
      2005 PhD with highest honors (summa cum laude)

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