Genome Regulation Group

Prof. Dr. Alexander Meissner

October 06, 2022

We are always looking for highly motivated and thoughtful computational or experimental PhD students. We do basic discovery research that does frequently translate into biomedical applications with a current focus on cancer biology.


Focus areas

•    Developmental biology – genome regulation in early embryogenesis
•    Cancer epigenomics – mechanism, function and origin of the cancer epigenome
•    DNA methylation – regulatory dynamics in development, aging and disease
•    Pluripotency and reprogramming – mechanisms that regulate cell fate transitions


Research concept

We are a mixed group of experimental and computational biologists that uses genomic tools to study developmental and stem cell biology. Our more recent discovery of possible shared regulatory principles between early extraembryonic development and cancer have led to a greater focus on studying this form of non-canonical epigenetic regulation. DNA methylation is part of that and generally remains a central focus in our basic research program to study genome organization, including the annotation of regulatory features and their dynamics during development. We also continue to study the underlying mechanisms that regulate cell fate transitions, in particular exit and entry into pluripotency.


Selected scientific highlights

Comprehensive analysis of ALL methylation data reveals an unusual epigenetic landscape.
Hetzel et al., Nature Cancer, 2022 

Discovery of focal methylation turnover at somatic enhancers in pluripotent stem cells. 
Charlton et al., Nature Genetics, 2020

Zygotic disruption of epigenetic regulators and single cell profiling of gastrulation embryos. 
Grosswendt, et al., Nature 2020

Extracellular matrix supports in vitro derivation of advanced embryonic structures.
Veenvliet et al., Science, 2020

Cas9-based molecular barcoding provides new insights into mammalian embryogenesis. 
Chan et al., Nature, 2019

We provide an intense but rewarding training environment and our network of successful alumni can be seen here:

All papers can be found here:


For more detailed information visit the website of the Meissner group.

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