The Nijman lab is at the Center for Molecular Medicine (CeMM, pronounce \sam\) in Vienna, Austria . We have recently moved into our new research building right next to Vienna General Hospital, one of the largest academic hospitals in Europe. CeMM is an international, independent and interdisciplinary research institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences dedicated to research with a human focus.
“From the clinic to the clinic”
CeMM’s mission is to combine insight obtained from basic and clinical research and use it to implement the development of innovative therapeutic and diagnostic strategies – from the clinic to the clinic.
In the Nijman lab we are particularly interested in cancer and try to understand the cellular circuitry that is misregulated in this disease. In addition, we wish to identify new angles for patient stratified cancer therapy using genomics strategies, such as genetic and compound screens. Current focus includes breast and lung cancer.
Research scopegenomics and bioinformatics.
Figure (right). Breast cancer in a mastectomy specimen (top). The cancerous tumour (pale yellow) resembles the figure of a crab, giving the disease its name.
Synthetic lethal interactions in mammalian cells
During the last 5 years, in vitro human cell genetics has become within reach for many laboratories around the world. One of the challenges for the coming years is to use the available tools in new and creative ways to fully exploit the power of experimental genetics. In this context, a major focus of the lab is the high-throughput assessment of synthetic lethal/sick (SSL) interactions using chemical compounds and RNAi. In particular we are trying to identify genotype-specific cancer vulnerabilites or "Achilles' heels".
Cell circuits and cancer: Ubiquitin dynamics
Other projects in the lab are generally focussed on cancer-relevant pathways and signaling dynamics, such as ubiquitination/deubiquitination. To identify deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) in pathways or processes of interest we employ RNAi libraries directed against all DUBs in the human genome. Using this approach we have previously identifid DUBs in NF-kappaB signaling, DNA repair and hypoxia signaling. Now, we are suing these libraries to identify potential new drug targets for cancer therapy
Figure (right). Ribbon representation of ubiquitin protein, highlighting the secondary structure. α-helices are coloured in blue and the β-sheet in green. The typical attachment point for a further ubiquitin molecule in polyubiquitin chain formation, lysine 48, is shown in pink.
Collaborations are crucial for modern day science!
Listed here are some friends and collaborators:
Tony Huang (NYU)
Thijn Brummelkamp (MIT, Whitehead Institute)
Rene Bernards (Netherlands Cancer Institute)
Todd Golub (Broad Institute, MIT/Harvard)
Dave Root (Broad Institute, MIT/Harvard)
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