Daniela Panáková, Ph.D.
Max Delbrück Center, Berlin, Germany
Daniela Panáková received her PhD in 2005 at Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany under the supervision of Suzanne Eaton. She has worked with Drosophila model on the concept of how the hydrophobic morphogens such as Wnt can spread in tissues over long distances, and identified a novel mechanism whereby lipoprotein particles act as vehicles for the lipid-linked proteins, and are required for Wingless and Hedgehog signaling. In 2007, as a Human Frontier Science Program Long-term Fellow she moved to Harvard Medical School/Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA to work with Calum MacRae. Using zebrafish, she has demonstrated non-canonical Wnt signaling modulates electrical coupling in the developing heart through negative regulation of L-type Ca2+ channel function, which established a novel limb in non-canonical Wnt signaling. She was awarded highly esteemed Helmholtz Young Investigator Award to start her own research lab at Max Delbrück Center in Berlin, Germany in 2011. Teaching, training and mentoring form a great part of her endeavors as an independent investigator. She has served as a Confidential Advisor for both the PhD and Postdoc body at the MDC and was part of the Gender Equality and Equal Opportunity team at the MDC.
Daniela Panáková’s long-standing research interest addresses how developmental signaling and physiology regulate cellular responses including cell fate and differentiation. Her main focus is to decipher how Wnt pathway interacts with mechanical and electrical cues in cell and zebrafish models. Her group made significant contributions to the understanding of heart formation and function, and more recently also to heart regeneration. Her ultimate goal is to uncover cellular mechanisms underlying cardiovascular diseases including heart failure. Her research focuses on cardiac biology, but on the broader scale has implication for cell, tissue and organ biology.