Simon Pöpsel: Curriculum Vitae

Simon grew up at the south-eastern edge of the Ruhrgebiet and moved right into the same to study Medical Biology at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He performed his undergraduate (B.Sc.) and PhD work on mechanisms of protein quality control in the laboratory of Prof. Michael Ehrmann ( His PhD work was concerned with how the human serine protease HTRA1 disintegrates and proteolyzes fibrillar aggregates composed of the tau protein, which are found in Alzheimer’s Disease and other pathologies. He then, in 2015, moved to Berkeley for a postdoc in the lab of Eva Nogales ( to work on mechanisms of epigenetic regulation and learn the technique of single-particle cryo-electron microscopy. In the Nogales Lab, he studied chromatin interactions of the human histone methyltransferase complex Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) and elucidated structures PRC2 bound to dinucleosomes. Moving back to Germany, Simon was appointed a Junior Research Group Leader at the Center of Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC), where is now pursuing his structural and biochemical studies on epigenetic regulators and other protein complexes involved in stress response, homeostasis and aging, with a strong emphasis on cancer associated multi-protein complexes. Besides science, Simon his passionate about music, food and his family. 

Academic education and degrees

  • 2005-2008: B.Sc. Medical Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Thesis with Prof. Michael Ehrmann
  • 2008-2009: M.Sc. progamme Medical Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, finished without M.Sc. degree because of Fast-Track PhD programme

Scientific degrees 

  • 2009-2014: PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany with Prof. Michael Ehrmann, Microbiology II, Center for Medical Biotechnology (ZMB), Faculty of Biology. (Summa cum laude)
  • 2008: B.Sc. Medical Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Thesis with Prof. Michael Ehrmann

Professional career from graduation

  • 2019-today: Junior Research Group Leader at the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC), Cologne, Germany
  • 2015-2019: Postdoc with Prof. Eva Nogales, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Division of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology, University of California at Berkeley, USA
  • 2014-2015: Postdoc with Prof. Michael Ehrmann, Center for Medical Biotechnology (ZMB), Faculty of Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Functions and Honours 

  • 2015-2017: Feodor Lynen Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Hosts: Prof. Robert Glaeser and Prof. Eva Nogales, UC Berkeley
  • 2011-2015: Nobel Laureate Mentoring Programme of the University Duisburg-Essen, Mentors: Prof. Kurt Wüthrich, Prof. Robert Huber
  • 2009: 59th Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates, dedicated to Chemistry Participation                                              
  • 2008-2009: Scholarship of the German National Academic Foundation Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes)
Simon Pöpsel

Simon Pöpsel

Group Leader

The complexity of life and its beauty at the molecular level leaves me with wonder and admiration over and over again. Doing science is a great privilege and we all shall practice with optimism, humility and happiness!