Kopf, Dr. Jessica - HONORS Alumna

Freie Universität Berlin

Institute for Biochemistry

AG Prof. Petra Knaus

Thielallee 63
14195 Berlin

Jessica Kopf received her Dipl.-Ing. in Medical Biotechnology at the Technische Universität Berlin in 2008. She later became part of the Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies and completed her PhD at the Freie Universität Berlin at the Institute of Biochemistry under the supervision of Prof. Petra Knaus. During her thesis entitled “BMP signalling, mechanical forces and the cytoskeleton – an intertwining molecular network”, she worked in close cooperation with the Julius-Wolff Institut at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin to elucidate the role of physical forces on BMP pathway regulation. 

Focus of research

The BMP signalling pathway and its regulation by cytoskeletal and mechanical parameters

Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) are secreted polypeptide growth factors that bind to specific sets of cognate transmembrane receptors (Horbelt, Denkis et al. 2012). They are important players during embryonic patterning and organ development and even guide tissue homeostasis, regeneration and metabolic processes in the adult. To exert such pleiotropic effects, a multilayer regulation of the BMP pathway is required. Signalling pathways are not only regulated by respective ligand-receptor interactions, but rather through intertwining molecular networks of co-receptors, antagonists, associated proteins and crosstalk to other pathways (Sieber, Kopf et al. 2009). In this respect, the cytoskeleton is able to alter BMP receptor signalling, the underlying molecular mechanism, however, is so far only poorly understood. Furthermore, mechanical forces highly impact growth factor signal transduction. Being one of the earliest targets for the intracellular integration of mechanical forces, the cytoskeleton may represent an important interface between mechanotransduction and BMP signalling pathways.

Post-doctoral research project

Visualization and analysis of BMP pathway regulation by cortical actin structures


Recent advances in BMP receptor signaling. Sieber C, Kopf J, Hiepen C, Knaus P. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2009 Oct-Dec;20(5-6):343-55. Epub 2009 Nov 7

Dorsomorphin and LDN-193189 inhibit BMP-mediated Smad, p38 and Akt signalling in C2C12 cells. Boergermann JH, Kopf J, Yu PB, Knaus P. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2010 Aug 5

Inhibition of Recombinant D-Amino Acid Oxidase from Trigonopsis variabilis by Salts. Kopf J, Hormigo D, García JL, Acebal C, de la Mata I, Arroyo M. Enzyme Res. 2011 Mar 2;2011:158541.

CD73 and CD29 concurrently mediate the mechanically induced decrease of migratory capacity of mesenchymal stromal cells. Ode A, Kopf J, Kurtz A, Schmidt-Bleek K, Schrade P, Kolar P, Buttgereit F, Lehmann K, Hutmacher DW, Duda GN, Kasper G. Eur Cell Mater. 2011 Jul 6; 22:26-42.

BMP and mechanical load cooperatively regulate early signaling events in the BMP pathway. Kopf J, Petersen A, Duda GN and Knaus P, BMC Biology. 2012 Apr 30;10:37.