The accurate replication and transmission of genetic material is of fundamental importance for cellular homeostasis and organism viability. Yet, cells are continually exposed to environmental and endogenous genotoxic agents that threaten DNA integrity. To protect their genomic stability, cells mount a complex network of DNA damage response pathways that activate cell cycle checkpoints, coordinate DNA repair, regulate gene expression and, if necessary, induce cell death. DNA damage signalling and repair is a powerful barrier to tumourigenesis, and defects in these pathways promote cell proliferation and genomic instability in premalignant lesions. The overarching questions of our research programme are how cells detect, signal and repair DNA damage to safeguard their genetic information, and how this knowledge can be exploited to develop personalized disease treatment approaches. We are particularly interested in the following aspects of genome maintenance:
a) How do RNA binding proteins regulate DNA damage response pathways?
b) How do tumour cells activate and regulate telomere maintenance mechanisms to achieve replicative immortality?
c) How do metabolic pathways and the tumour microenvironment influence genome stability and telomere maintenance?
Max Planck Research Group Leader
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing
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