Our lab investigates the molecular genetic basis of human brain tumors. Gliomas are the most common human primary brain tumors and are central to our research efforts. These tumors harbor an intrinsic ability to malignant progression and they tend to diffusely infiltrate the surrounding brain tissue, thus limiting the efficiacy of local therapeutic approaches. Consequently, an improved understanding of the molecular genetic abberrations and signaling pathways underlying glioma cell invasion and glial tumor progression appears of considerable importance for the development of more efficient and targeted tumor therapies.
To achieve this goal, our laboratory emphasizes the combination of in vitro-techniques with histology-based approaches that allow for the direct study of molecular changes in human glioma tissue specimens. A main methodical focus is on the identification and functional characterization of genes that are epigentically regulated in gliomas, either by means of promoter methylation, aberrant histone modification patterns or a regulatory network of small, non-coding RNAs (so-called miRNAs). Our translational research approach enables us to convey basic research results into clinical neuropathological applications with the aim of identifying novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.
Our research has been generously funded by the German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe), the Wilhelm Sander Foundation (Therapy Unit Neurooncology), the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Academy of Sciences Northrhine-Westfalia/Mercator Foundation, the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts (Bavarian Research Networks ForIPS and ForInter) and the Sibylle Assmus Foundation.