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Miguel Branco

Research Interests

Miguel is currently a Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London and a Sir Henry Dale Fellow funded by the Wellcome Trust and Royal Society. He is based at the Blizard Institute, part of the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

His research focuses on the epigenetic regulation of transposable elements (TEs). Almost half of the human genome is made up of TEs, and a proportion of these remain active and mobile. Therefore, their transcription needs to be tightly controlled to prevent mutagenic events. On the other hand, TEs have made help to drive genome evolution, often contributing with gene regulatory elements, amongst other genetic components. Miguel’s lab uses epigenomic approaches and molecular biology tools, mainly on cell culture models (e.g., ESCs, TSCs), to investigate the epigenetic mechanisms involved in these two seemingly opposing facets of TE biology. His group aims to elucidate the functional roles that TEs play in the contexts of development, health and disease.

Key Publications

Publications whilst at the CTR

Booth MJ, Ost TWB, Beraldi D, Bell NM, Branco MR, Reik W, Balasubramanian S (2013) “Oxidative bisulfite sequencing of 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine”, Nature Protocols, 8(10):1841-51.

Ficz G, Hore TA, Santos F, Lee HJ, Dean W, Arand J, Krueger F, Oxley D, Paul Y, Walter J, Cook SJ, Andrews S, Branco MR, Reik W (2013) “FGF signaling inhibition in ESCs drives rapid genome-wide demethylation to the epigenetic ground state of pluripotency”, Cell Stem Cell, 13(3): 351-9

Hacket JA, Reddington JP, Nestor CE, Dunican DS, Branco MR, Reichmann J, Reik W, Surani MA, Adams IR, Meehan RR (2012) “Promoter DNA methylation couples genome defence mechanisms to epigenetic reprogramming in the mouse germline”, Development, 139(19): 3623-32

Raiber EA, Beraldi D, Ficz G, Burgess H, Branco MR, Murat P, Oxley D, Booth MJ, Reik W, Balasubramanian S (2012) “Genome-wide distribution of 5-formylcytosine in ES cells is associated with transcription and depends on thymine DNA glycosylase”, Genome Biology, 13(8): R69

Arand J, Spieler D, Karius T, Branco MR, Meilinger D, Meissner A, Jenuwein T, Xu G, Leonhardt H, Wolf V, Walter J (2012) “In vivo control of CpG and non-CpG methylation by DNA methyltransferases”, PLoS Genetics, 8(6): e1002750

Krueger C, King MR, Krueger F, Branco MR, Osborne CS, Niakan KK, Higgins MJ, Reik W (2012) “Pairing of homologous regions in the mouse genome is associated with transcription but not imprinting status”, PLoS One, 7(7): e38983

Booth MJ*, Branco MR*, Ficz G, Oxley D, Krueger F, Reik W, Balasubramanian S (2012) “Quantitative sequencing of 5-methylcytosine and 5-hyroxymethylcytosine at single-base resolution”, Science, 336(6083): 934-7
(*equal authorship)