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For a recently awarded European Research Council (ERC) grant we are recruiting a postdoc and a PhD student who want to develop and apply advanced genomics and screening technology. We aim to explore whether epigenetic alterations alone may suffice to convert a normal cell into a cancer cell and vice versa. Progress along these lines will answer a fundamental question of cancer biology and provide a broadly useful platform technology for developing a new generation of epigenetic cancer drugs.
Our lab is based at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. It combines advanced technologies (epigenomics, single-cell sequencing, drug screening, mass spectrometry, imaging, etc.) with a deep interest in computational modeling and relevant clinical collaborations. We are working to advance cancer therapy through systems-level research focusing on the cancer epigenome.
Epigenetic alterations can be detected in all cancers and in essentially every patient. Despite their prevalence, the concrete functional roles of these alterations are not well understood. In this project, we aim to develop and apply epigenome programming technology that will allow us to precisely manipulate the epigenome and to rationally reprogram normal cells into cancer cells and vice versa. We will adapt CRISPR technology and combinatorial use of epigenetic drugs to high-throughput epigenome editing, develop suitable screening assays, and ultimately engineer and erase a cancer from scratch through a defined series of epigenetic modifications. This project will establish a broadly applicable methodology and toolbox for dissecting the functional roles of epigenetic alterations in cancer, and it will introduce a “build it to understand it” paradigm into cancer epigenetics, which will challenge our understanding of cancer as a (mainly) genetic disease.
We are looking for highly motivated and academically outstanding candidates who want to pursue a scientific career in the emerging field of medical epigenomics. An ideal candidate would have a background in molecular biology (including functional genomics, chemical biology, biotechnology, human genetics, molecular medicine, etc.) or in the computational sciences (bioinformatics, physics, statistics, etc.) and a strong interest in collaboration and teamwork at the interdisciplinary interface of cancer epigenetics, systems biology, and medicine.