Rada-Iglesias lab

Developmental genomics


Mammalian embryogenesis represents a highly regulated and organized process in which a myriad of different cells, tissues and organs are generated following exquisite spatiotemporal patterns. Despite having identical genetic information, each embryonic cell type displays unique properties, best exemplified by the expression of a characteristic set of genes. The major goal of our laboratory is to uncover the main genetic and epigenetic factors that allow the deployment of specific gene expression profiles as developmental programs unroll.

Using a multidisciplinary approach that combines in vitro and in vivo differentiation models with biochemical and genomic approaches, we are investigating the transcriptional regulatory principles orchestrating early mammalian developmental transitions. Within this context, we are focusing on the crosstalk between regulatory elements, transcription factors and chromatin-associated proteins, which together allow the acquisition and maintenance of developmental gene expression programs.  This holistic approach provides a deep mechanistic understanding of the non-coding transcriptional regulatory genomic space that is dynamically and specifically used during mammalian embryogenesis. Importantly, this information allows us to investigate how genetic and epigenetic variation within regulatory elements can lead to quantitative changes in gene expression, which ultimately can have pathogenic consequences and contribute to human disease susceptibility.


Research Overview

Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC)

The CMMC is a multidisciplinary center at the University of Cologne that brings together physician scientists with basic researchers. The mission of the CMMC is to advance the understanding of the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of many common health problems. CMMC along with its partner institutes such as the Cologne Cluster of Excellence in Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-associated Diseases (CECAD), the Cologne Center for Genomics and the Max-Planck Institute for Biology of Aging, are all located within the same campus, providing a vibrant, multidisciplinary and highly collaborative scientific environment. As a result, the CMMC provides an excellent platform for our “Developmental Genomics” Junior Research Group, with access to state-of-the-art technologies and a broad scientific community. For further information, visit www.zmmk.uni-koeln.de.

The CMMC is located in Cologne, the forth-largest city in Germany and host of one of the oldest and largest universities in Europe. Cologne is one of the major German cultural hubs, with a vibrant, international and lively atmosphere. Located in the heart of Europe, Cologne is within driving distance of several major German and European cities and very close to several international airports. For further information, visit http://www.cologne.de/

Adapted from Rada-Iglesias et al., Nature (2011)

Adapted from Rada-Iglesias et al., Nature (2011) and Cell Stem Cell (2012)

Adapted from Rada-Iglesias et al., Genome Medicine (2011)

   CMMC - Photo: Jürgen Schmidt, Cologne                                         Cologne cathedral