Hetzer Lab

Developmental and pathological changes in the organization and functions of the cell nucleus

Normal development and its aberrant regulation in human disease involve changes in cellular plasticity. A dramatic example of this phenomenon is the excessive plasticity in cancer cells, which is accompanied by a failure to maintain a normal gene expression program and cellular phenotype. It is now well known that the organization of the cell nucleus, which houses a cell’s genome in the form of chromosomes, plays critical roles in controlling when and where genes are activated during cell fate determination and normal or abnormal cell function.

Our laboratory is focusing on deciphering the structural and molecular organization of the nucleus and the nuclear genome under various developmental and pathological conditions. The ultimate goal is to identify novel mechanisms that control the safe storage, duplication, transmission and expression of the nuclear genome, arguably one of the most complex structures known in cell biology. We are using different model organisms and experimental approaches to work towards an understanding of nuclear genome function that takes into consideration the dynamic and highly adaptive nature of this membrane-enclosed organelle.

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