Markus Ralser has been a group leader at the Francis Crick Institute, London, since 2013. he recently became Einstein Professor of Biochemistry, and is a Head of Biochemistry at the Charitè University Medicine (the joint medical faculty of Humboldt and Free state Universities in Berlin, Germany). Previously, he was the recipient of a Wellcome Trust Research career development fellowship and a Wellcome-Beit prize, at the Department of Biochemistry and the Cambridge Systems Biology Centre, University of Cambridge.
Born in South Tyrol (Italy), he studied Genetics and Molecular Biology In Salzburg (Austria), and completed a PhD in Neurodegenerative disorders at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin (Germany). After being trained in mass spectrometry at VU Amsterdam (Netherlands), he started a Junior group at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, that eventually moved to the University of Cambridge (UK) in 2011.
The Ralser lab is known for fundamental discoveries, that have improved our understanding on how cells can coordinate hundreds of biochemical reactions assembled in the metabolic network. These show that metabolism is much more flexible and integrated into physiology of cells as it was expected only a few years ago. In particular, results obtained in the Ralser lab have provided fundamental insights on how central carbon metabolism could have evolved in early life forms (driving the structure of modern metabolism), how reactions can co-occur within a cell despite competing chemistries, and how yeast and cancer cells reconfigure metabolism to be protected against oxidative stress.
Further, the Ralser lab has generated a large map that connects all non-essential genes in the yeast genome to their impact on biosynthetic metabolism, which has shown that the regulation of metabolism involves involves at least 1/3rd of all genes in the genome. Finally, the lab has invented the system of self-establishing communities that provide evidence for the extend of metabolite exchange ongoing between co-growing eukaryotic cells.
In addition, the analytical technologies established by the Ralser lab have solved some long-lasting debates in related disciplines, like the question of whether or not cancer cells establish the Warburg effect through expressing the pyruvate kinase isoform 2, or whether or not Drosophila and key yeast species possess DNA methylation.
The Ralser lab has been the recipient of substantial funding from the Francis Crick Institute, the Wellcome Trust, the ERC, EMBO, the BMBF (Germany), the Max Planck Society and the BBSRC. Markus was selected into the EMBO Young investigator programme, he is a Wellcome Trust Beit fellow, and he is recipient of the 2008 BioMed Central Research Award. and the 2017 Colworth Medal.