Advancing Epigenetics Towards Systems Biology

News

Awarded by the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, the "Stars of Europe" prize rewards project coordinators for their European work. This year, the Special Jury Prize was awarded to the EpiGeneSys Network of Excellence. Thierry Mandon, Secretary of State for Higher Education, presented the Trophées des Etoiles de l'Europe to Geneviève Almouzni, Director of the Research Center of Institut Curie and coordinator of the network on 5 December 2016 at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.

The process by which a mother’s diet during pregnancy can permanently affect her offspring’s attributes, such as weight, could be strongly influenced by genetic variation in an unexpected part of the genome, according to research led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). The discovery could shed light on why many human genetic studies have previously not been able to fully explain how certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, are inherited.

Our genome, our DNA, has taken a central place in our daily life, whether we think about our health, our well-being and longevity, our susceptibility to disease, our aptitude for learning, and our adaptation and responses to diet, drugs and the environment. Yet despite having successfully sequenced the full human genome, it is not enough to make sense of its function as a whole. Developing the technologies to empower the community to address this major issue represents one of the most significant S&T challenge that the biomedical world will have to deal with in the next decade to come.
If you believe studying the dynamic nucleus is paramount to understand how the genome functions, support this initiative!

Obesity can sometimes be shut down

It is well known that a predisposition to adiposity lies in our genes. A new study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg now shows that it is also crucial how these genes are regulated. The scientists lead by Andrew Pospisilik discovered a novel regulatory, epigenetic switch, which causes individuals with identical genetic material, such as monozygotic twins, to either be lean or obese. Interestingly, much like a classical light switch there are only two discrete outcomes (ON and OFF, or rather OBESE and NOT OBESE), not continuous increments as with a dimmer.

Egg’s epigenetic ‘blueprint’ important for placenta development in pregnancy

The team of Wolf Reik and Myriam Hemberger at the Babraham Institute, in collaboration with the group of Miguel Branco at Queen Mary University London, have uncovered previously unappreciated means by which epigenetic information contained in the egg influences the development of the placenta during pregnancy. The research, which was performed in mice, indicates that a mother’s health, even before conception, may influence the health of her fetus, and opens questions on how a mother’s age may influence placental development.

Open Access with the individuality of treatment you’d expect from a traditional journal...

Wiley has launched a new sister journal of BioEssays, the journal with which EpiGeneSys has enjoyed a special affiliation over five the past years:

Two RISE 1 investigators have published a report mechanism that may lead to more efficient reprogramming of somatic cells

The team of researchers around Maria-Elena Torres-Padilla (Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology, Strasbourg) and Juanma Vaquerizas (Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster) have managed to obtain in vitro totipotent cells with the same characteristics as those of the earliest embryonic stages and with even more interesting properties. The seeds for this work were planted at one of the EpiGeneSys meetings. Both investigators highlight the role of the network has played for this successful collaboration.

Hashtag - # Visions of Epigenetics

EpiGeneSys is a European Network of Excellence coordinated by Geneviève Almouzni, director of the Research Center of the Institut Curie, with more then 160 laboratories dispersed across Europe. Besides its scientific programme, the project includes the mission to raise public awareness and disseminate information about and from this growing area of research. EpiGeneSys has decided to choose an unusual way to engage with the public: Epigenetics leaves the laboratory and enters the world of art!

EpiGeneSys in the News

Today special issue of Nature about the main findings of the NIH Roadmap Epigenomics Program, the aim of which was to systematically characterize epigenomic landscapes in primary human tissues and cells, was published. Read how EpiGeneSys coordinator Geneviève Almouzni sees this exciting achievement! (Nature: News and views)

EpiGeneSys travel bursaries for selected speakers at the 3D genome regulation meeting: June 28-30 2015 at Weizmann

A meeting dedicated to 3D genome regulation will take place at Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel from June 28 to 30.
Discussion and exchange of new data will centre on some of the key questions in the field, including the mechanisms and functional impact of topological domains, long-range loops, promoter enhancer hubs and computational approaches to model them.

An exhibition exploring epigenetics

EpiGeneScapes presents the work of three artists who are exploring, interpreting and developing visual metaphors regarding aspects of Epigenetics. The exhibition has been scheduled to coincide with the EpiGeneSys European Network of Excellence Annual Meeting taking place at the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona from November 27-29th, 2014.

Challenges and Opportunities

December 1-3, 2014 - IEO, via Adamello 16, Milan, Italy

The international conference co-organized by EPIGEN, EPIGENESYS, BLUEPRINT, and DEEP on epigenomics and health care policy is rapidly approaching!

New map of intitutes

Discover the new map of the institutions in Europe and elsewhere who are hosting EpiGeneSys teams and members.
The map displays 84 institutes dispersed over 21 countries.

View map

From Ideas to Markets: Excellence in mainstreaming gender into research, innovation, and policy

30 June – 1 July 2014, Brussels
The Gender Summit 4 - Europe 2014 (GS4EU) will bring together experts from research, industry and policy to consider gender research evidence and the ways of improving the quality and impact of research and innovation through the inclusion of gender in science knowledge making and application.

An incursion into the epigenetic landscape of our ancestors

The study of the evolution of epigenetic regulation in humans proves to be rather difficult because of the lack of material at our disposal... The collaboration between a stem cell biologist, Eran Meshorer, an associate member of EpiGeneSys, and a computational biologist, Liran Carmel, abled to circumvent this problem by analyzing the genomes of two archaic humans, a Neanderthal and a Denisovan ...

How, in some cancers, a protein excess could induce treatments resistance

A collaboration between EpiGeneSys members, the Almouzni's and Imhof's teams, led to the discovery of a cellular mechanism that could explain the resistance of certain cancers to specific treatments (Mol Cell. 2014 Feb 20;53(4):631-44).

Scientists demonstrate a role for epigenetics in the inheritance of complex traits

The teams of Vincent Colot at the Institut de Biologie de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure (IBENS) in Paris (France) and Frank Johannes at the Groningen Bioinformatics Centre [GBiC] (University of Groningen, Netherlands), together with colleagues at Genoscope in Evry (France) have demonstrated that the heritability of complex traits can be determined by epigenetic variants rather than changes in DNA sequence. Using a population of "epigenetic recombinant inbred lines" (epiRILs) in the model plant Arabidopsis, they identified regions of the genome that can adopt distinct epigenetic states and are responsible for heritable differences in flowering time and root growth...

EpiGeneSys is not only a powerful science network for researchers, it aims too at talking about epigenetics and systems biology for a lay audience.
Recently, two members of EpiGeneSys gave insights into epigenetics on talks now available online.

Our Wiki toolbox is available for you to consult and add any relevant information. Today, 5 topics are available:
Analysis of bisulfite sequencing - Analysis of Hi-C contact maps - Quantitative models of transcription regulation - TF chip seq - Analysis of 3D FISH and chromosome paints.
To give your input, become a contributor by clicking on this link. It can be easy and helpful for you and others to gather all the information you need into one place.

As of September 1, Geneviève Almouzni, CNRS Research Director, director of the Nuclear Dynamics and Genome Plasticity unit, and assistant director of the training unit has taken over the management of the Research Centre. She was selected by the Institut Curie's international Scientific Advisory Board, to replace Professor Daniel Louvard, who has held the position from 1993 to today. She is the first woman since Irène Joliot-Curie to direct the Institut Curie's research activities.

The third and final round of adding further associate members to the EpiGeneSys network has been concluded and we are very pleased to welcome 39 new associates. These new teams will contribute their ideas and dynamic approaches to our goal of uniting the European systems biology and epigenetics communities.
With them, a little bit more of Europe is represented in the network as the first teams from Portugal, Turkey, Cyprus and Slovenia joined us.

While epigenetics remained a virtually unknown subject of science for many years, it has recently enjoyed a lot of attention. Some report on it as a savior from the constraints of our genetic heritage or, as TIME magazine put it in 2010 "Why Your DNA Isn't Your Destiny", others paint a darker picture of the epigenetic inheritance we may pass on to the following generations.

Residing in the physical heart of the cell, the nucleus has now fully shed its once one-dimensional reputation as the repository for genetic information and steady supplier of messages to the cytoplasm. This sea change toward a more dynamic view of nuclear biology has been led by a revolution in our understanding of genomes, regulatory elements, epigenetic modifiers, and nuclear spatial organization, which has enabled the examination of the interplay of these factors both genome wide and at individual loci.

Geneviève Almouzni, scientific coordinator of EpiGeneSys and deputy director of research and training director at the the Institut Curie has been awarded the 2013 FEBS I EMBO Women in Science Award. Professor Almouzni has been recognised for her outstanding contributions to research in the area of histones and chromatin, her engagements in promoting epigenetics in Europe, and her active role in mentoring female scientists.

Read More: EMBO press release

An open call for bilateral Franco-German projects in human epigenomics from the ANR-France has been announced! The deadline to submit a "declaration of intention" is March 29th, 2013. Click here for the announcement (in French).

Edith Heard, named a Chair of the Collège de France in Epigenetics and Cellular Memory will be giving weekly lectures starting in February that, in the tradition of this great institution, are free for anyone to attend. Lectures (in French) are from 16-17:30 followed by a seminar in English.

Other EpiGeneSys Members will give seminars in February and March; click here for details, or see online details

View Inagural Lecture video