Who's Who

Akram Ghantous


Epigenetics Group


Epigenomics and Cancer (Cell Biology and Molecular Epidemiology)

Academic Degrees

2012PhDCell and Molecular BiologyAmerican University of Beirut, research in collaboration with Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-NurembergBeirut ErlangenLebanon Germany
2006MScBiologyAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
2004BScMajor Biology, Minor ChemistryAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon

Current Research Projects

  • The research projects of interest focus on rare tumors and how they associate with particular environmental risk factors and can be driven by epigenetic mechanisms, which can cross-talk with mutational driver events and functionally relate to gene expression. These projects include epigenomics, cross-omics and molecular epidemiology approaches as well as mechanistic in vitro models. Major examples are: (1) Epigenetic sensors of in utero exposures and maternal lifestyle factors during pregnancy, based on prospective data from large multi-centric birth cohort consortia; (2) Epigenetic precursors of childhood cancer and associated exposure factors during early-life: evidence from cases and controls nested in multi-national birth cohort consortia; (3) The methylome landscape of cholangiocarcinoma: cross-talk with chromatin regulation and cancer driver mutations

Selected Publications

Joubert BR et al.,… Ghantous A*, Holland N*, Murphy S*, DeMeo DL*, Burchard EG*, Ladd-Acosta C*, Snieder H*, Nystad W*, Koppelman GH*, Relton CL*, Jaddoe VWV*, Wilcox A*, Melén E*, London SJ* (*, equal contribution) (2016) Maternal smoking in pregnancy and DNA methylation in newborns: Genome-wide consortium meta-analysis. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 98(4):680-696

Ghantous A, Hernandez-Vargas H, Byrnes G, Dwyer T, Herceg Z (2015) Characterising the epigenome as a key component of the fetal exposome in evaluating in utero exposures and childhood cancer risk. Mutagenesis, 30 (6):733-742

Ghantous A, Saffery R, Cros MP, Ponsonby AL, Hirschfeld S, Kasten C, Dwyer T, Herceg Z and Hernandez-Vargas H (2014) Optimized DNA extraction from neonatal dried blood spots: application in methylome profiling. BMC Biotechnology, 14:60

Ghantous A, Saikali M, Rau T, Gali-Muhtasib H, Schneider-Stock R, Darwiche N. (2012) Inhibition of Tumor Promotion by Parthenolide: Epigenetic Modulation of p21. Cancer Prevention Research, 5 (11):1298-1309

Ghantous A, Gali-Muhtasib H, Vuorela H, Saliba NA, Darwiche N (2010) What Made Sesquiterpene Lactones Reach Cancer Clinical Trials? Drug Discovery Today, 15 (15-16):668-678

Prizes, Honours

• IARC Postdoctoral Fellowship, France (2012-2014)
• Best Talk and Best Poster Awards at research conferences (thrice : 2012, 2011, 2010)
• Ranked first in Lebanon for the International Fulbright Science and Technology Award for PhD studies in the USA (twice : 2010, 2006). The award is designed by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State to be the most prestigious international award for PhD studies
• High-Distinction (high-school and university undergraduate and graduate levels). Dean’s honor list (top 3% of undergraduate students in all majors) and highest averages and cumulative average (96/100) in graduate courses in the Biology Department records, American University of Beirut, Lebanon (2009 – 2002). Fellowship for supplementary mathematics courses, American University of Beirut, Lebanon (2008-2009)
• Abdul Hadi Debs Award for the top three graduate students at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon (2007)