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Brehm Group

The most recent common ancestor of humans and fruit flies populated Earth hundreds of millions of years ago. Although the phenotypic appearance of man and fly has diverged considerably since we have much in common on the cellular and molecular levels. For example, three quarters of all genes known to be involved in cancer are conserved between humans and flies. The astounding similarity of regulatory networks controlling cell proliferation, differentiation and senescence provides us with a unique opportunity to use the fruit fly as a simple model system for cancer research.

We are using Drosophila melanogaster to address fundamental questions of tumour biology. We maintain a large scale fly culture and are combining biochemical, genetic and molecular biology approaches to investigate conserved tumour suppressor complexes and chromatin regulators.

In addition, we are studying the function of mammlian complexes regulating gene expression and chromatin structure and their role in cancer.