Simon Pöpsel: Curriculum Vitae

Simon grew up at the south-eastern edge of the Ruhrgebiet and moved right into it to study Medical Biology at the University of Duisburg-Essen, where he did his undergraduate (B.Sc.) and PhD work on mechanisms of protein quality control in the lab of Prof. Michael Ehrmann ( His PhD work was concerned with how the human serine protease HTRA1 is able to disintegrate and proteolyze fibrillar aggregates of the tau protein, which are found in Alzheimer’s Disease and other pathologies. He decided to change topics and learn a new techniqe – in 2015, he moved to Berkeley for a postdoc in the lab of Eva Nogales (, one of the best places to learn cryo-electron microscopy. In the Nogales Lab, he studied chromatin recognition by the human epigenetic repressor complex 2 (PRC2) and elucidated structures of this multi-protein complex bound to dinucleosomes. Moving back to Germany, Simon was appointed a Junior Group Leader position and the Center of Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC), where is now pursuing his structural and biochemical studies on epigenetic regulators with a strong emphasis on disease contexts and genome-wide mechanisms of enzymatic activities. 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!