ERC Starting Grant: Making and breaking a cancer cell by epigenome programming

The lab has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant by the European Research Council, a prestigious grant supporting excellent and innovative research in Europe.

Summary: Epigenetic alterations can be detected in all cancers and in essentially every patient. Despite their prevalence, the concrete functional roles of these alterations are not well understood. In this project, we aim to develop and apply epigenome programming technology that will allow us to precisely manipulate the epigenome and to rationally reprogram normal cells into cancer cells and vice versa. We will adapt CRISPR technology and combinatorial use of epigenetic drugs to high-throughput epigenome editing, develop suitable screening assays, and ultimately engineer and erase a cancer from scratch through a defined series of epigenetic modifications. This project will establish a broadly applicable methodology and toolbox for dissecting the functional roles of epigenetic alterations in cancer, and it will introduce a "build it to understand it" paradigm into cancer epigenetics, which will challenge our understanding of cancer as a (mainly) genetic disease.

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