FP7 Network of Excellence EpiGeneSys: Epigenetics towards systems biology

Lead Research Organisation: Babraham Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED


Epigenetic regulation of the genome entails modifications to DNA and histones as well as noncoding RNAs and higher order chromatin structure. These modifications of the genome (collectively known as the epigenome) are particularly important for our understanding of how diet affects health throughout life since epigenome patterns in the cell are at least partly heritable and can be affected by diet and nutrition. We are part of a large European Network of Excellence (NoE) funded by the EU called EpiGeneSys. The postdoc funded on this project will try to understand how the environment, nutrients and metabolism, growth factors, cytokines and developmental programmes shape the epigenome through signalling pathways from the cell surface to DNA organised into chromatin. Cells respond continually to their environment and to their nutritional state by inducing new programmes of gene expression, which in turn modulates cell behaviour. These studies will ultimately lead to an understanding of how diet affects health throughout life, with the prospect of making recommendations on human nutrition in order to improve healthspan.


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Description This was the second european network of excellence in which I was involved, and I was a co-coordinator of the network. This network was a substantial driver to bring together in Europe the epigenetics and systems biology communities, including providing significant training and career progression opportunities especially for young researchers. We made significant research findings especially linking naive pluripotency with global epigenetic reprogramming in both mouse and human.

What is particularly pleasing is that the research community we built during this network came together (and included others) for a H2020 Flagship application called LifeTime which has just been approved for a Coordination and Support Action.
Exploitation Route These findings have been taken up by the community as judged by research publications that build on our results
Sectors Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description Chair SAB Development and Genetics Unit Institut Curie
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Probably the best unit of this type in France
Description European Research Council committee member
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Description Flagship
Amount € 1,000,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 02/2019 
End 03/2020
Description MRC Collaboration Grant (deep sequencing in Epigenomics)
Amount £960,000 (GBP)
Funding ID G0801156 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Description Consultancy Cambridge Epigenetix 
Organisation Cambridge Epigenetix
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution I am a consultant for the company
Collaborator Contribution None at present
Impact Oxidative bisulfite sequencing
Start Year 2012
Description Human Cell Atlas 
Organisation Broad Institute
Country United States 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Contributed to formulating the white paper of the Human Cell Atlas.
Collaborator Contribution Conceived the project and brought the international consortium together.
Impact The white paper was published Regev et al 2017. It involves single cell biologists and computational and modelling scientists.
Start Year 2016
Description Jurkowski 
Organisation University of Stuttgart
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Helped with reagents and interpretation.
Collaborator Contribution Conceived and conducted study.
Impact Publication Stepper et al 2017. Involves biochemists, epigeneticists.
Start Year 2016
Description MRC EASIH 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution increased opportunities for deep sequencing using alternative platforms such as Roche 454 and ABI Solid
Collaborator Contribution MRC East Anglia Sequencing and Informatics Hub established in 2009
Impact see above
Start Year 2009
Description Role of Np95 in epigenetic reprogramming 
Organisation RIKEN
Country Japan 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are analysing the effects of Np95 deletion in zygotes and early embryos
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of unpublished conditional knockout in the key epigenetic regulator Np95
Impact The first results have been obtained and look quite interesting
Start Year 2008
Description Shankar Balasubramanian - nucleosome positioning depending on DNA modifications 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department Cancer Research UK Cancer Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provided embryonic stem cell and mouse embryo samples
Collaborator Contribution Analysed nucleosome positioning in samples provided by our lab
Impact See publications. Chemistry, biochemistry, developmental biology, epigenomics.
Start Year 2016
Title Consortium agreement 
Description Consortium agreement between the Babraham Institute and the Max Delbrück Centre on LifeTime EU 
IP Reference  
Protection Protection not required
Year Protection Granted 2019
Licensed No
Impact The LifeTime consortium is now up and running as a Coordination and Support Action supported by the EU
Description Cheltenham Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A panel discussion and public debate on epigenetics at the Cheltenham Science Festival 2013

Several enquiries from members of the public who attended
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/science/whats-on/2013/flexible-inheritance-epigenetic-effects-on-...
Description Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2012 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation Workshop Facilitator
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Large public audience attendance over one week of all day exhibition

Much positive feedback from members of the public and scientists attending
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012