I studied Developmental Biology with Walter Gehring (University of Basel) and Jim Smith (University of Cambridge). I received my PhD in 2013 from the University of Cambridge. My current research aims at understanding the silencing and reactivation of the genome during the oocyte-to-embryo transition. This transition may serve as a template of how to increase the efficiency of reprogramming terminally differentiated cells into pluripotent cells for therapeutic use.
Specifically, some of the research question I aim to answer are the following: What are the actively acquired pluripotent properties of the chromatin landscape to reach ‘competence’, which is the ability to respond to developmental (inductive) or immunogenic signals? How does the malfunction of competence and especially the mis-regulation of embryonic pioneer factors contribute to the initiation and progression of cancer including chordoma or germ cell tumours? Knowing which chromatin factors are required to trigger a specific response will increase the success of engineering patient-specific tissue such as the spinal cord which in normal adult life has little or no capacity to regenerate upon injury.