Taking apart pediatric cancer bit by bit
It is our goal to understand developmental processes in cancer biology. We track development in selected model cancers and characterize (epi)genomic changes that occur in time and space. With these data, we aim to decipher the syntax and semantics of development by formal abstraction into intelligible models, and by reconstruction in tractable experimental systems. To this end, we combine developmental and cancer biology with functional genomics, data analytics, and mathematics. There are three aspects of development that are currently at the heart of our interest: Intra-tumor plasticity, the formation of metastases, and the influence of non-tumor cells on these processes.
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Cancer is a disruption of orderly developmental processes – cancerous cells either fail to reach the destination of their developmental circuit or they revert after they had seemingly completed the track. By achieving a thorough understanding in individual cases and abstracting the findings in quantitative models, we help to elucidate new avenues for detecting (diagnosis), projecting (prognosis), and interfering (therapy) with aberrant development in pediatric cancers.
Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is an enigmatic neoplasm with highly variable clinical presentation and severity. Our new study together with CeMM charts molecular heterogeneity in LCH at single-cell resolution and unravels an unexpected hierarchy.Read the paper Get the data
Tissue-resident macrophages are key elements of the immune system and important for organismal development and homeostasis. We teamed up with researchers from New York and Bonn to trace back the specification of these cells to embryonic progenitors.Read the paper Get the data