Research Groups

Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis - Epigenetics Group

Current Research Topics:

1. Epigenetic mechanisms (histone modifications, DNA methylation, and microRNAs) underlying cancer development and progression. Investigate the functional impact of genes mediating epigenetic mechanisms in DNA repair, gene transcription and cell cycle control.

2. Identification of epigenetic profiles (DNA methylation and microRNAs) in specific human cancers (liver, lung, upper aero-digestive tract, stomach) as signatures of environmental/lifestyle exposures (oncogenic viruses, alcohol, tobacco).

3. The impact of nutrition and early-life exposure on epigenetic states and cancer susceptibility during childhood and adulthood. Testing whether epigenetic changes induced by in utero and early-life exposures may be indicative of increased cancer risk and useful end points in intervention studies.

4. Development of epigenetic methods that are applicable to biobanks associated with population-based studies, including prospective and mother/child cohorts.

5. Epigenetic control of “stemness” and epigenetic deregulation in cancer stem cells. Investigating whether special properties of cancer stem cells (self-renewal and differentiation capacity) are controlled by epigenetic mechanisms and whether disruption of these mechanisms may deregulate key “stemness” genes and “tumour progenitor genes”.

6. Exploiting the ubiquity, early appearance and intrinsic reversibility of epigenetic changes in biomarker discovery for risk assessment and cancer prevention.