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Epigenetic control of cell identity


We wish to understand the chromatin-based mechanisms which control the identity and fate of mammalian cells. Our particular interest is in enzymes which act on chromatin to regulate genome function in time and space during cellular differentiation to ensure normal growth and development.

Genetic mutations of chromatin remodelers have been implicated in cancer initiation or progression and frequently lead to impairment of embryonic development and pluripotency. One focus of our work is to determine how epigenetic events mediated by ATP dependent chromatin remodeling support and reinforce stem cell identity and direct differentiation of stem cells.

We are also investigating the mechanisms that implement transcriptional repression and maintain it through multiple rounds of cell division, since failure to do so can lead to aberrant gene expression programs and genome instability. Our model systems include retrotransposons, pericentric heterochromatin and the inactive X chromosome of females.

POST DOC position available:
The projects focus is on the epigenetic regulation in the skin driven by ATP dependent chromatin remodeling enzyme complex SMARCAD1. Humans carrying a mutation in a skin specific isoform of this remodeling enzyme lack fingerprints, which is manifested in diseases such as the immigration delay disease, yet, the cause of this phenotype is not understood. The successful candidate will thus determine how the remodeler SMARCAD1 functions in the skin and elucidate the molecular basis that underpins the establishment of fingerprints. Interested? Get in touch in April 2020.
If you are interested in our research please contact us!


Epigenesys - EC-funded research initiative on epigenetics advancing towards systems biology

SFB TRR81 – Chromatin changes in Differentiation and Malignancies

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