Our Epigenetics and Genome Stability team, led by Professor Jessica Downs, is working on a variety of research programmes that could be developed in collaboration with commercial partners.
Professor Downs’ laboratory focuses on understanding how epigenetic regulators and chromatin proteins impact on protecting the genome and the integrity of the DNA in cells, and how these are lost in cancer.
Several of its big projects revolve around the SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complex. There are inactivating mutations in subunits of SWI/SNF in roughly 20% of cancers, and Professor Downs’ lab found that SWI/SNF is important for DNA damage responses and for the fidelity of chromosome segregation.
The team has worked in collaboration with industry partners to identify new drug targets that could take advantage of genome instabilities in tumours.
As well as continuing this work, Professor Downs’ laboratory is also looking to develop new forms of technology that will improve identification of epigenetically mis-regulated cancer samples – and would be open to new partnerships to expand in this area.