Contact information

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ana García-Sáez

Institute for Genetics

CECAD - Cluster of Excellence at the University of Cologne

Joseph-Stelzmann-Straße 26

50931 Cologne


Department of Membrane Dynamics

Max Planck Institute for Biophysics

Max-von-Laue-Str. 3

60438 Frankfurt am Main


Academic education

2000 - 2005 PhD studies, University of Valencia, Spain
2000 - 2003 Undergraduate Studies in Chemistry, Licenciada, University of Valencia, Spain
1995 - 2000 Undergraduate Studies in Biochemistry, Licenciada, University of Valencia, Spain


Scientific degrees

2005 PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Valencia, Supervisor: Dr. Jesus Salgado
07/2003 Licenciada (eq. Diploma) in Chemistry, Univ. of Valencia, Spain
07/2000 Licenciada (eq. Diploma) in Biochemistry, Univ. of Valencia, Spain


Scientific career

2023 - present

Director, MPI of Biophysics, Department of Membrane Dynamics, since October 2023

2019 - present W3 Professor, Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne
2013 - 2019 W3 Professor, Interfaculty Institute of Biochemistry, University of Tübingen
2010 - 2013 Double appointment as Independent Max Planck Research Group Leader at MPI for Intelligent Systems and Junior Group Leader at the German Cancer Research Center, with laboratory located at Bioquant, University of Heidelberg
2005 - 2009 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biophysics, BIOTEC, Technical University (TU) Dresden (Group of Prof. Dr. Petra Schwille)


Service to scientific community and honours

2020 - present Henriette Herz-Scout of the Alexander von Humboldt foundation
2019 - present Editorial Board, PLoS Biology
2018 Consolidator Grant, European Research Council
2018 - present Advisory Editorial Board, Life Science Alliance
2018 - present Deputy-speaker, DFG Graduate School "MOMbrane" at University of Tübingen
2018 Consultation panel, DFG Collaborative Research Centre initiative CRC 1381
2017 EMBO Young Investigator
2017 - present Editorial Board, FEBS Journal
2016 - present Editorial Board, Journal of Biological Chemistry
2016 - present Editor book series “Advances in Biomembranes & Lipid Self-Assembly”, Elsevier
2015 Scientific Evaluation, DFG Collaborative Research Centre CRC 1208, Düsseldorf
2014 - present Editorial Board, Chemistry and Physics of Lipids
2012 Starting Grant, European Research Council
2011 Member of Selection Committee for the Max Planck Research Group Leaders in the section of Chemistry, Physics and Technology
2009 Max Planck Postdoctoral Fellowship
2007 - 2009 Marie Curie Intraeuropean Fellowship, BIOTEC, TU Dresden
2005 Short-term FEBS Fellowship
2001 - 2005 Predoctoral Fellowship of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture


  • Mitochondrial pores at the crossroad between cell death and inflammatory signaling

    Mitochondria are cellular organelles with a major role in many cellular processes, including not only energy production, metabolism, and calcium homeostasis but also regulated cell death and innate immunity. Their proteobacterial origin makes them a rich source of potent immune agonists, normally…

  • The interplay between BAX and BAK tunes apoptotic pore growth to control mitochondrial-DNA-mediated inflammation

    BAX and BAK are key apoptosis regulators that mediate the decisive step of mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization. However, the mechanism by which they assemble the apoptotic pore remains obscure. Here, we report that BAX and BAK present distinct oligomerization properties, with BAK…

  • DRP1 interacts directly with BAX to induce its activation and apoptosis

    The apoptotic executioner protein BAX and the dynamin‐like protein DRP1 co‐localize at mitochondria during apoptosis to mediate mitochondrial permeabilization and fragmentation. However, the molecular basis and functional consequences of this interplay remain unknown. Here, we show that BAX and DRP1…

  • BCL-2-family protein tBID can act as a BAX-like effector of apoptosis

    During apoptosis, the BCL-2-family protein tBID promotes mitochondrial permeabilization by activating BAX and BAK and by blocking anti-apoptotic BCL-2 members. Here, we report that tBID can also mediate mitochondrial permeabilization by itself, resulting in release of cytochrome c and mitochondrial…

  • Ferroptotic pores induce Ca2+ fluxes and ESCRT-III activation to modulate cell death kinetics

    Ferroptosis is an iron-dependent form of regulated necrosis associated with lipid peroxidation. Despite its key role in the inflammatory outcome of ferroptosis, little is known about the molecular events leading to the disruption of the plasma membrane during this type of cell death. Here we show…

  • Quantitative analysis of super-resolved structures using ASAP

    Super-resolution microscopy allows imaging of cellular structures with high throughput and detail. However, the efficient and quantitative analysis of images generated is challenging with existing tools. Here, we develop ASAP (automated structures analysis program) to enable rapid and automated…