Molecular Mechanisms and Biomarkers Group
Current Research Topics
- Investigations of mutation spectra and associated impact and molecular markers in experimental models and humans
MMB conducts research activities in the area of experimental toxicogenomics of cancer risk agents (MutSpec 2.0 project). These comprise systematic testing of carcinogen exposures in experimental cell models, analyses of mutation spectra in tissues derived from bioassays, and collaborative activities related to the prioritization of cancer risk agents for mutagenicity testing.
Innovative experimental systems and methodologies are designed and applied within the MutSpec 2.0 project. The focus is on the development of rapid and high-throughput systems for carcinogen testing and on mechanisms of DNA damage, including collaborative adductomic approaches to establish the formation of pre-mutagenic lesions.
The functional impact of mutagenic insults is investigated by identifying the relationships between mutagenesis and genome topography, by analysing mutation spectra and the dynamics of chromatin organization during cell immortalization and transformation and in cancer. A particular focus is on the functional interplay between genetic and epigenetic alterations during cell transformation, as well as the validation of the obtained experimental molecular markers in the public pan-cancer data.
- Investigations of cancer causes through integrative molecular cancer epidemiology studies
By providing expertise in genomics and bioinformatics, MMB participates in various molecular cancer epidemiology studies, including (but not limited to) investigations of renal carcinogenicity of dietary acrylamide, the role of asbestos exposure in the development of ovarian cancer, and studies of exposure to pesticides and cancer risk. In the settings of low- and middle-income countries, MMB collaborates on investigations of the molecular underpinnings of oesophageal cancer. The results from model-based mechanistic and molecular epidemiology studies are translated into biomarkers of exposure and cancer development that are potentially applicable to cancer hazard assessment.
- Bioinformatics and data analysis resources for molecular cancer epidemiology
MMB develops comprehensive workflows for multi-omics analysis of experimental models and of human cancers, in close collaboration with internal and external partners. MMB maintains the IARC TP53 database.