SciLifeLab researcher Sebastian Deindl receives ERC Advanced Grant
SciLifeLab researcher Sebastian Deindl (UU) has received a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant funding for a groundbreaking research project called DONUTS (Dependence of Nucleosome Transactions on Sequence). The project will provide new insights into how genetic information is packaged within cells.
“It’s quite humbling and a big honor for me, and I feel fortunate because only a handful of projects get selected, it’s a very competitive grant. This type of funding makes it possible to embark on an ambitious journey to pull off something that has not been done before”, says Sebastian.
The research will focus on chromatin, a highly compact state in which genetic information is stored in the nucleus of a cell. Chromatin is made up of nucleosomes, cylindrical protein cores around which DNA is wrapped. These nucleosomes can line up like beads on a string and fold into more compact structures.
The precise positioning of nucleosomes plays a crucial role in switching genes on and off and in the replication and repair of DNA. However, the mechanisms underlying the positioning of nucleosomes are still poorly understood. This lack of understanding is particularly relevant to cancer, where chromatin architecture is often disrupted, leading to aberrant gene regulation.
“At the heart of the project, we basically want to understand how our genetic information, the DNA, is packaged. The positioning of nucleosomes is extremely important, when they are mispositioned, things can go awry”, Deindl explains.
The DONUTS project
To tackle this question, Sebastian and his team will use cutting-edge high-throughput single-molecule imaging approaches to gain new insights into the fundamental processes that establish chromatin architecture. By developing new techniques that allow for the direct observation of nucleosome positioning, they hope to shed light on the underlying mechanisms that govern this process.
“We want to gain a deep and mechanistic understanding of the processes that establish these very robust nucleosome positions across the genome, so that nucleosomes are always where they should be, and very precisely so”, Sebastian says.
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