CARELL GROUP – Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry

DNA Materials – Repair of DNA Damage – RNA Modifications

An introduction to the CARELL GROUP

carell group laboratories



The high-tech campus Großhadern, where the LMU Departments of Pharmacy, Chemistry and Biochemistry have been located since 1999, is the home base of the Carell group.

With a foundation in synthetic organic chemistry, the group reaches out to unravel the mysteries of the molecules of life, with emphasis on the nucleic acids. These versatile molecules are both extremely stable and extremely diverse in their chemistry.

In the case of DNA, highly efficient replication and repair systems have ensured the stability of the genetic code for millions of years. In the case of RNA, about 170 different building blocks of RNA have been identified so far. The function of these molecules spans from information storage and inheritance to the regulation of life-processes and fascinating catalytic properties. It is at this interface between Chemistry and Biology where the Carell group positions itself.


siRNA SARS-CoV-2 in Angewandte Chemie
Modified siRNAs protect cells from SARS-CoV-2
Johann de Graaff, 12.07.2022
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We could now show that optimized and chemically modified siRNAs are able to drastically reduce virus replication of SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, this method could be generally adopted to effectively suppress genetically rapidly evolving viral RNAs. Check it out!

Inauguration of the Institute for Chemical Epigenetics (ICEM)
Johann de Graaff, 31.05.2022
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The official inauguration ceremony of the Institute for Chemical Epigenetics (ICEM) was held on Monday, 30th of May 2022! Our new research facility focuses on the interplay of chemistry and biology on the level of the genetic code and early life on earth.

Carell in Nature
Unified: A Prebiotic World of RNA and Peptides
Markus Müller, 12.05.2022
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Now online in Nature: Could amino-acid modified RNA bases have served as early building blocks for pre-ribosomal peptide synthesis? Check also the podcast (at 10:54 min).

Elucidation of the mannosyl-queuosine structure
Johann de Graaff, 08.12.2021
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We have elucidated the structure of the hypermodified tRNA base mannosyl-queuesine. It was synthesized in 33 steps and our data show that manQ features an α‐allyl connectivity of its sugar moiety.
Check it out in Nature Communications!

TET3 in Nature Communications
Gdh fuels TET3 with αKG in neurons
Johann de Graaff, 02.07.2021
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TET enzymes are highly important for the regulation of epigenetic information. We could now show that neuronal glutamate dehydrogenase is located in the nucleus in significant amounts, generating alpha-ketoglutarate, an essential co-substrate for TET3.

Focus of the group



A Synonym for Successful DNA Research


Our research is centered around the Chemical Biology of Nucleic Acids. We have a special interest in RNA and DNA modifications, including regulatory/epigenetic modifications as well as detrimental DNA lesions and their repair. An additional research focus includes synthetic modifications, such as applying click chemistry to DNA, building brighter probes for diagnostics and optimizing gene transfer.



Novel Phosphoramidites of New Epigenetic Bases


The Carell group has developed sophisticated tools for DNA and RNA research. These are isotopically labelled nucleosides for tracing and quantification. Our phosphoramidites are now sold through GlenResearch. Find out what is available.


Publications CARELL GROUP

The Complete List


Here you will find a complete list of our published research in high-impact journals like Science, Nature, Cell and Angewandte Chemie.

Links will guide you to the publishers' websites. Latest papers on top.


Lectures and Courses



Prof. Carell teaches bioorganic chemistry (OC3) in the Bachelor of Chemistry and Biochemistry program. Together with Dr. Müller, he offers a program in Chemical Biology, consisting of two lectures and a practical course. In the Supplements section, students can find study examples for their exam preparation.

Our laboratories

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