Effects of DNA Methylation on Chromatin Structure and Transcription (Dirk Schübeler)

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In this episode of the Epigenetics Podcast, we caught up with Dr. Dirk Schübeler, Director of the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI) in Basel, Switzerland, to talk about his work on the effects of DNA methylation on chromatin structure and transcription.

Dirk Schübeler was born in Germany and started his scientific career in Braunschweig, Germany. After his postdoc at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, he joined the FMI in 2003 and never left. He was recently appointed as the Director of the FMI in March 2020.

Dirk Schübeler’s research focuses on DNA methylation and its effects on chromatin and transcription. It is widely known that DNA methylation leads to gene silencing, but many of the mechanisms and regulatory factors involved in this process remain understudied. Therefore, Dirk Schübeler and his team set out to characterize the DNA methylation profiles in normal human somatic cells and compare them with the methylation profiles in transformed human cells. More recent work in his lab led by postdoc Tuncay Baubec focused on factors that bind to methylated DNA regions and modify chromatin structure. The factors they studied include the MBD protein family and also proteins like DNMT3B.

In this interview, we discuss the impact of DNA methylation on chromatin states, how CpG-binding factors influence those processes, and we also talk about his new role as Director of the Friedrich Miescher Institute.

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