New Faculty (Spring 2020)

Oliver Bracko

Dr. Oliver Bracko

My research focuses on elucidating common mechanisms of cognitive decline in neurodegenerative disease. We employ high resolution in vivo multiphoton imaging and animal behavior in mouse models to identify novel mechanisms connecting neurodegenerative diseases. This approach allows us to follow complex physiological processes on both cellular and organ (brain, tissue) scales. Currently, we are focusing on capillary stalling as a novel phenomenon explaining a large proportion of the reduced brain blood flow seen in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. These capillary stalls are primarily comprised of leukocytes firmly bound to endothelial cells that lead to transiently block capillaries and reduce cortical blood flow. Furthermore, we are exploring upstream molecular mechanisms that cause this capillary stalling phenomenon, and we are determining the downstream consequences of improving brain blood flow in Alzheimer’s disease progression.

Bracko’s Citations



2008-2012 Ph.D. Cell Biology, ETH Zurich

2004-2008 M.Sc. Biology, Eberhard-Karls University

Professional Experience

2015-2021 Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Biomechanical Engineering, Cornell University

2012-2015 Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Neurology, University Hospital Zurich

Lena Mueller

Dr. Lena Mueller

A majority of land plants engage in an interaction with soil fungi termed arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) symbiosis. The endosymbiotic AM fungi help the plant to acquire mineral nutrients; and in return for these benefits, the fungi receive carbon from the host plant. An imbalance in this nutrient trade, e.g. caused by environmental conditions or functional incompatibilities between plant and fungal species,can lead to fungal parasitism and detrimental outcomes for the host plant. Thus, from a plant’s perspective, it is critical to maintain an optimal balance between the carbon costs and the symbiotic benefits the fungi provide.

My lab studies the local and systemic signaling mechanisms that allow plants to establish and maintain a balanced interaction with AM fungi, prevent fungal parasitism, and dynamically fine-tune the symbiosis based on changing environmental conditions. We are using molecular biology, microscopy, transcriptomics, and natural variation to understand how plants control AM symbiosis. I am recruiting Ph.D. students for the 2021 Fall semester. If you are interested in joining the lab, please contact me with a brief description of your research interests and a copy of your C.V.

Mueller’s Citations


Ph.D. Plant Science and Policy - University of Zurich (2015)

B.S./M.Sc. Biology - University of Tuebingen (2009)

Professional experience

Assistant Professor - University of Miami, Biology Department (2021 - present)

Postdoctoral Fellow – Boyce Thompson Institute, Cornell University (2015-2020)

Main Publications

Müller, L.M., L. Campos-Soriano, V. Levesque-Tremblay, A. Bravo, D.A. Daniels, S. Pathak, H.J. Park, & M.J. Harrison“Constitutive overexpression of RAM1 increases arbuscule density during arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in Brachypodium distachyon” BioRxiv 146233 (2020).

Müller, L.M., K. Flokova, E. Schnabel, X. Sun, Z. Fei, J. Frugoli, H.J. Bouwmeester, & M.J. Harrison“A CLE–SUNN module regulates strigolactone content and fungal colonization in arbuscular mycorrhiza” Nature Plants 5 (2019).

Müller, L.M. & M.J. Harrison“Phytohormones, miRNAs and peptides integrate plant phosphorus status with arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis” Current Opinion in Plant Biology 50 (2019).

Floss, D.S., K.S. Gomez, H.J. Park, A.M. MacLean, L.M. Müller, K.K. Bhattarai, V. Levesque-Tremblay, I.E. Maldonado-Mendoza & M.J. Harrison“A transcriptional program for arbuscule degeneration during AM symbiosis is regulated by MYB1” Current Biology 27 (2017).

Müller, L.M., H. Lindner, N.D. Pires & U. Grossniklaus“A subunit of the oligosaccharyltransferase complex is required for interspecific gametophyte recognition in Arabidopsis” Nature Communications 7 (2016).

Pires, N.D., M. Bemer, L.M. Müller, C. Baroux, C. Spillane & U. Grossniklaus“Quantitative genetics identifies cryptic genetic variation involved in the paternal regulation of seed development” PLoS Genetics 12 (2016).

Lindner, H., S. A. Kessler*, L.M. Müller*, H. Shimosato-Asano, A. Boisson-Dernier & U. Grossniklaus“TURAN and EVAN regulate pollen tube reception in the synergid cells, but play distinct roles in the male gametophyte” PLoS Biology 13 (2015). *Authors contributed equally

Lindner, H.*, L.M. Müller*, A. Boisson-Dernier & U. Grossniklaus“CrRLK1L receptor-like kinases: not just another brick in the wall” Current Opinion Plant Biology 15 (2012). *Authors contributed equally

Richter, S., L.M. Müller, Y.D. Stierhof, U. Mayer, N. Takada, B. Kost, A. Vieten, N. Geldner, C. Koncz & G. Jürgens“Polarized cell growth in Arabidopsis requires endosomal recycling mediated by GBF1-related ARF exchange factors” Nature Cell Biology 14 (2012).

El-Kasmi, F., T. Pacher, G. Strompen, Y.D. Stierhof, L.M. Müller, C. Koncz, U. Mayer & G. Jürgens“Arabidopsis SNARE protein SEC22 is essential for gametophyte development and maintenance of Golgi-stack integrity” Plant Journal 66 (2011).