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Professor Wolf Reik receives an ERC Advanced Grant to study crucial developmental process

last modified Apr 17, 2020 09:01 AM

New funding awarded to Professor Wolf Reik, Head of the Epigenetics research programme at the Babraham Institute and a member of the CTR and the SRI's Steering Committee, will support research into one of the earliest and most important processes in early development. Professor Reik will receive funding through a prestigious Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to apply single cell multi-omics to understand the role of the epigenome in regulating early cell fate decisions. The latest ERC funding will award €450 million across 185 projects for Europe’s long-term frontier research.

The funding awarded to Professor Reik will support research mapping parallel biological read-outs of individual cells to chart their epigenetic journey from a cell capable of being any cell type in the body to being restricted to forming one of the three cellular layers established during gastrulation.

Professor Reik said: “Single cell RNA-sequencing has identified major transcriptional changes associated with germ layer specification. Global epigenetic reprogramming accompanies these changes, but the role of the epigenome in regulating early cell fate choice is poorly understood. We are systematically charting this important developmental progression by single cell multi-omics, tracking simultaneously the transcriptome, DNA methylome and chromatin accessibility. As a consequence of this research we will determine the molecular mechanisms of epigenetic regulation of gene expression during development, and the functional consequences of faulty priming in lineage and organ development.”

This ambitious programme of work will provide fundamental insights into how the epigenetic landscape in early development impacts cell differentiation. This knowledge will inform strategies for regenerative medicine based on the use of stem cells, and improve our understanding of how developmental disorders arise in humans.

 

Full story on the Babraham Institute website