Chromatin, Transcription, and Cancer
Biological science has made remarkable progress towards a detailed understanding of the organisation and functional expression of genetic information in human cells. The entire human genome has been sequenced, providing a vast amount of structural data as a basis for functional studies.
Over the past decade, critical roles of small non-coding RNAs and the combinatorial use of transcription factors have been unravelled. In addition, we are beginning to understand how the chromatin is organised to integrate epigenetic information in the context of the nuclear architecture.
All of these features are part of a larger system that has Achilles heels. Malfunction of this system may lead to diseases such as cancer.
The challenge is to integrate all this information in order to achieve a more complete understanding of cellular processes at the systems biology level, and eventually better diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer. Key areas in these efforts are the roles of chromatin in control of gene expression and other processes, and the regulation of gene transcription by transcription factors and co-factors.
The network has close contacts with biotech companies in order to establish stronger links between academia and industry. It also aims to stimulate intensified and interdisciplinary interactions and collaborations, particularly among young scientists, i.e. students and post-docs.