Dr. rer. nat. Ion Cristian Cirstea

Research interest

RAS signaling pathways and biological processes dysregulated in RASopathies, cancer and (premature) aging.   

Identification of novel RAS interactors and their underlying role in RAS function.

Functional characterization of novel RASopathy genes/mutations.

Non-canonical functions of RAS: energy metabolism, bone remodeling, cardiac dysfunction and SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Academic and Scientific education

2016-…            Group Leader, Institute of Comparative Molecular Endocrinology, Ulm University

2012-2016        Independent Research Fellow, Leibniz Institute on Aging, Jena

2007-2012        Postdoc, Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II, Heinrich-Heine-University Hospital, Düsseldorf

2003-2007        PhD, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology (Dortmund, Germany)

2001-2003        Master, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Bucharest

1996-2000        Diploma, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Bucharest


Selected publications

Motta M*, Fidan M*, Bellacchio E, Pantaleoni F, Schneider-Heieck K, Coppola S, Borck G, Salviati L, Zenker M, Cirstea IC**, Tartaglia M**. Dominant Noonan syndrome-causing LZTR1 mutations specifically affect the Kelch domain substrate-recognition surface and enhance RAS-MAPK signaling. Hum. Mol. Genet. 28(6), 1007–1022 (2019). *, equal contribution; **, equal contribution and joint coordination

Cirstea IC, Gremer L, Dvorsky R, Zenker M, Ahmadian MR. Diverging gain-of-function mechanisms of two novel KRAS mutations associated with Noonan and Cardio-Facio-Cutaneous syndromes. Hum. Mol. Genet. 2013 Jan 15; 22(2):262-70.

Cirstea IC, Kutsche K, Dvorsky R, Gremer L, Carta C, Horn D, Roberts AE, Lepri F, Merbitz-Zahradnik T, König R, Kratz CP, Pantaleoni F, Dentici ML, Joshi VA, Kucherlapati RS, Mazzanti L, Mundlos S, Patton MA, Silengo MC, Rossi C, Zampino G, Digilio C, Stuppia L, Seemanova E, Pennacchio LA, Gelb BD, Dallapiccola B, Wittinghofer A, Ahmadian MR, Tartaglia M, Zenker M. A restricted spectrum of NRAS mutations causes Noonan syndrome. Nat. Genet. 2010 Jan;42(1):27-9.