Welcome to Kliza Lab

Decoding Post-Translational Modification Signalling Networks



The Question And The Approach

We are fascinated by post-translational modifications of proteins (PTMs). Those chemical modifications regulate all aspects of a protein’s life, from stability, and interactions to activity. While hundreds of PTMs were discovered, the components of their networks, roles in cellular physiology and disease remain largely unexplored. Our research aims to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms and the physiological relevance of PTM signalling networks, focusing on ADP-ribosylation. We aim to identify clinically relevant targets, and thus contribute to the development of novel treatments for human diseases related to pathological PTM signalling pathways. We apply a multifaceted and interdisciplinary approach to address our research questions, including proteomics, biochemistry, molecular and cell biology techniques.

The Location

Our lab is located at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, Germany. For more information about the institute, please visit here.


* Co-first authors/# Co-corresponding authors/Equally contributed authors


Katarzyna Kliza, PhD (she/her)

Principal Investigator

Hello everyone! My name is Katarzyna (Kasia), and I am a biochemist interested in post-translational modifications, proteomics and methods development. I did my BSc/MSc in Biotechnology at the Jagiellonian University (Poland), where I studied the regulatory role of ubiquitination in inflammatory responses. Driven by my interest in ubiquitin signalling, I joined the Institute of Biochemistry II at the Goethe University (Germany) as a Marie Curie ITN-funded PhD student. Here I developed a proteomics -based approach for the identification of linear polyubiquitinated substrates. I also identified a novel dimerization-dependent linear ubiquitin reader N4BP1 and characterized its regulatory function in TNFR1 signalling. Next, I successfully applied for an EMBO long-term fellowship to study ADP-ribosylation. During my postdoc with Prof. Michiel Vermeulen at Radboud University (the Netherlands), I established a novel chemical biology- and proteomics-based strategy for proteome-wide identification of ADP-ribose readers. In spring 2023, I will start my lab at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund, Germany. Combining my experiences from my graduate and postdoctoral work, I will lead the efforts to decode post-translational modification networks.


Michelle Marten (she/her)

Biology Lab Technician

Michelle completed her training as a Biology Lab Technician at MPI Dortmund in 2014 and has since worked in various research groups. Her most recent role was in the group of Dr. Christian Schröter in the Department of Systemic Cell Biology, where she focused on working with murine and human embryonic stem cells, aiming to determine how these cells specialize in the early stages of development. In the Kliza lab, Michelle will continue her work with embryonic stem cells and play a key role in supporting the team in decoding post-translational modification networks. Additionally, Michelle is an active member of the green team, passionately promoting sustainable research practices. Outside the lab, her interests include crafting, plants, photography, and travel.


Chukwudi Thomas Ugwu

PhD student

Chukwudi (Chuks) obtained his bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, his home country. He then pursued his master’s as a Government of Ireland International Education Scholar (GOI-IES) at the School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, University College Dublin (UCD). For his master’s thesis, he utilized a semi-synthetic approach to site-specifically modify recombinantly produced human interferon-gamma at its naturally occurring post-translational modification sites for immunotherapeutic applications. In the Kliza lab at IMPRS-LM, Chukwudi is excited to contribute to the development of proteomics tools for deciphering the complexity of ADP-ribosylation signaling networks in both normal and pathological conditions. Outside the lab, he is a Manchester United fan, enjoys the gym, and plays chess.


Elias Windisch (he/him)

Student intern

Hey, I am Elias. I am currently a student pursuing a Master of Science in Biology at the Ruhr-University Bochum, specializing in protein and structural biology. I also completed my BSc in Biology at the same university. I am fascinated by the field of (protein) analytics and am eager to further my education in this area, with a particular interest in post-translational modifications. Therefore, I am doing an internship in the Kliza lab to learn more about this topic, especially about ADP-ribosylation, proteomics and mass-spectrometry. When I’m not in the lab, I enjoy dancing, hiking, and playing volleyball.




We strive to grow into an inclusive, collaborative and dynamic team of proactive researchers who are driven by their passion for science. We offer a stimulating environment, consistent mentoring and continuous support for our team member’s career development. 

PhD applicants are recruited biannually through the International Max Planck Research School for Living Matter. See here for further details. Interested applicants are welcome to contact us directly by email. Please include your CV, transcript records and a brief motivation letter.

Postdoc applicants are kindly requested to send their CVs and motivation letters to us by email.

We welcome undergraduate students or students interested in an internship of at least 3 months. Please send your CV, recent transcript records and a brief motivation letter to us by email.