Harald Janovjak


  • harald.janovjak@monash.edu


Harald Janovjak received his PhD in single molecule biophysics from the University of Technology Dresden.

After post-doctoral research in the laboratories of Ehud Y. Isacoff at the University of California, Berkeley and Dirk Trauner at the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich in molecular neuroscience and optogenetics, he joined the Institute of Science and Technology Austria.

In 2018, Harald was appointed EMBL Australia Group Leader at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute. His work is centered on manipulating mammalian physiology with synthetic biology with a focus on identifying new approaches for tissue regeneration.

Harald is a Future Fellow of the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Click here for full list of publications on ORCID

Research interests

My research interest lies at the interface of synthetic biology and mammalian physiology in the new research field synthetic physiology.

In past few years, the focus of my work was on the ‘synthetic’ of synthetic physiology and my group established new methods to control signaling pathways, e.g. those activated by receptor tyrosine kinases and GPCRs, and behaviour, e.g. proliferation and survival, of nerve cells, cancer cells and key cell populations involved in metabolism. These methods offer spatial precision, e.g. to activate only selected cells or tissues ex vivo and in vivo, and temporal precision, e.g. to intervene with specific stages during development and disease progression, and included but were not limited to optogenetics.

My work is currently transitioning to the ‘physiology’ of synthetic physiology with a focus on understanding and manipulating cell signaling and cell behavior selectively in tissues affected by degeneration. Our interdisciplinary research builds on application of new molecular tools, such as our light-activated receptors, in animal models (mouse and Drosophila) of disease, including Type I diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Featured Publications

Authors Title Published In

Tichy AM, Gerrard EJ, Sexton PM, Janovjak H.

Light-activated chimeric GPCRs: limitations and opportunities.

Curr. Opin. Struct. Biol. (2019) 57: 196-203.

Tichy AM, Gerrard EJ, Legrand JMD, Hobbs RM, Janovjak H.

Engineering strategy and vector library for the rapid generation of modular light-controlled protein-protein interactions.

J. Mol. Biol. (2019) 431: 3046-3055.

Morri M, Sanchez-Romero I, Tichy AM, Kainrath S, Gerrard EJ, Hirschfeld PP, Schwarz J, Janovjak H.

Optical functionalization of human Class A orphan G-protein-coupled receptors.

Nat. Commun. (2018) 9: 1950.

Kainrath S, Stadler M, Reichhart E, Distel M, Janovjak H.

Green-light-induced inactivation of receptor signaling using cobalamin-binding domains.

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. (2017) 56: 4608-4611.

Mitchell JA, Whitfield JH, Zhang WH, Henneberger C, Janovjak H, O’Mara ML, Jackson CJ.

Rangefinder: A semisynthetic FRET sensor design algorithm.

ACS Sensors (2016) 1: 1286-1290.

Reichhart E, Ingles-Prieto A, Tichy AM, McKenzie C, Janovjak H.

A phytochrome sensory domain permits receptor activation by red light.

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. (2016) 55: 6339-6342.

Inglés-Prieto Á, Reichhart E, Muellner MK, Nowak M, Nijman SM, Grusch M, Janovjak H.

Light-assisted small-molecule screening against protein kinases.

Nat. Chem. Biol. (2015) 11: 952-954.

Hühner J, Ingles-Prieto Á, Neusüß C, Lämmerhofer M, Janovjak H.

Quantification of riboflavin, flavin mononucleotide, and flavin adenine dinucleotide in mammalian model cells by CE with LED-induced fluorescence detection.

Electrophoresis (2015) 36: 518-525.

Grusch M, Schelch K, Riedler R, Reichhart E, Differ C, Berger W, Inglés-Prieto Á, Janovjak H.

Spatio-temporally precise activation of engineered receptor tyrosine kinases by light.

EMBO J. (2014) 33: 1713-1726.

Janovjak H, Sandoz G, Isacoff EY.

A modern ionotropic glutamate receptor with a K(+) selectivity signature sequence.

Nat. Commun. (2011) 2: 232.

Janovjak H, Szobota S, Wyart C, Trauner D, Isacoff EY.

A light-gated, potassium-selective glutamate receptor for the optical inhibition of neuronal firing.

Nat. Neurosci. (2010) 13: 1027-1032.