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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience



Neurons extend over long distances forming connections to other cells. To provide the tips of these cells with crucial nutrients, neurons use an ingenious transport system that relies on the correct orientation of filaments called “microtubules”.

My PhD revolves around how these microtubules orient themselves during development. To this end I combine live cell imaging of Drosophila melanogaster neurons, with statistical physics and machine learning algorithms.

I also develop software for biological data analysis and am building a platform ( to promote the application of machine learning in biology.


Dr Kristian Franze (Cambridge)
Prof Christine Holt (Cambridge)
Dr Assaf Zemel (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Prof Daniel St Johnston (Cambridge)


Key publications: 

Cioni J-M, Lin JQ, Holtermann AV, Koppers M, Jakobs MAH, Azizi A,  Holt CE, (2019), Late Endosomes Act as mRNA Translation Platforms and Sustain Mitochondria in Axons, Cell, 176(1-2), 56-72.e15. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2018.11.030

Turner-Bridger B, Jakobs M, Muresan L, Wong HH-W, Franze K, Harris WA, Holt CE, (2018), Single-molecule analysis of endogenous β-actin mRNA trafficking reveals a mechanism for compartmentalized mRNA localization in axons, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 115(41), E9697-E9706. doi:10.1073/pnas.1806189115

Jakobs M, Dimitracopoulos A, Franze K, (2018), KymoButler: A deep learning software for automated kymograph tracing and analysis, doi:10.1101/405183

Nieuwburg R, Nashchekin D, Jakobs M, Carter AP, Khuc Trong P, Goldstein RE, St Johnston D, (2017), Localised dynactin protects growing microtubules to deliver oskar mRNA to the posterior cortex of the Drosophila oocyte, Elife, 6. doi:10.7554/eLife.27237

Jakobs M, Franze K, Zemel A, (2015), Force Generation by Molecular-Motor-Powered Microtubule Bundles; Implications for Neuronal Polarization and Growth, Front Cell Neurosci, 9, 441. doi:10.3389/fncel.2015.00441

PhD student
 Maximilian   Jakobs

Contact Details

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