Ulrich Elling studied molecular biology in Germany and Boulder/CO and performed his PhD at the EMBL in Heidelberg/Germany. During his postdoctoral training he developed mouse haploid embryonic stem cells as a tool for high throughput genetic screens by means of insertional gene trapping. Ulrich now runs an academic research lab at the IMBA in Vienna, Austria and is an expert for genetic screening technology.
His group is focused on cell identity transitions as well as the development of novel genetic screening tools. Recent work focused on improvements of CRISPR/Cas9. The Elling lab reported on CRISPR-UMI, a single-cell tracing method for CRISPR screening to counteract cellular heterogeneity as well as various editing outcomes and demonstrated improved performance for genetic screening. Another development, CRISPR-Switch, represents a tight and rapidly inducible control of sgRNA activity, e.g. to perturb genes sequentially. Recently the group presented a markedly improved score for sgRNA selection called the VBC-score, which integrates independent layers of phenotypic manifestation downstream of editing and thereby expands the target space for genetic screens. Currently the group is developing new concepts to empower high throughput screening in vivo to uncover gene essentiality in more physiological contexts. Ulrich has also developed a high-throughput pipeline for mutational surveillance of the SARS-CoV2 S-gene and is currently sequencing it in 10-15% of all Austrian patients.