Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Epigenetics

Epigenetics

The study of modifications to DNA and chromatin that promote changes in gene expression without altering the DNA sequence

Cells undergoing cytokinesis What is epigenetics?

The activity of our genes is determined by more than their DNA sequence alone. Active and silent genes are distinguished by epigenetic marks – chemical tags that are added to the DNA or to the proteins around which the DNA is organised on chromosomes.

All cells in the body are derived from stem cells, which have the unique ability of being able to give rise to any cell type.

Epigenetic marks play important roles in defining different cell types in the body and can be influenced by environmental and nutritional factors.

Blastocysts squareWhy is it important?

We are particularly interested in the epigenomes of the stem cells that contribute to, and are present in, the early embryo.

Using these cells we can uncover how epigenetic information affects the function of important organs such as the placenta, the heart, or the brain and behaviour throughout life. It is known that epigenetic marks decline during the ageing process.

Our research will provide approaches by which epigenetics can be manipulated in cells and organisms, potentially leading to enhanced stem cells and applications in regenerative medicine and healthy ageing.

Stained oocyteWhat is our research?

Using state-of-the-art technology, most of which we have developed ourselves, we are performing analyses to study the epigenome and gene expression patterns of mammals during embryonic development. This information allows us to unravel how epigenetic marks influence development.

We are defining signalling pathways in stem cells that induce reprogramming of the epigenome on a large scale. Additionally, we are studying the enzymes that regulate the epigenome together with factors such as RNA that can help to target specific epigenetic marks.


 


23/05/2017

Aged stem cells could lead to weaker immune systems

Single-cell analysis by the Reik lab and collaborators examines ageing in stem cells

Research reveals blood stem cells age at different rates


17/05/2017

Celebrating science and impacts at the Babraham Institute

Babraham annual research & impact awards

The Institute celebrates the outstanding research and impacts…


19/04/2017

European funding success

New Marie Skłodowksa-Curie Fellows

Intro

 

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Research Impact

2 Industrial Research Collaborations

2 CASE PhD Studentships

2 Formal Industrial Consultancy Agreements

3 New IP Licence Agreements

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