Hans-Wilhelm Nützmann



Accepting Doctoral Students

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Research interests

My research programme investigates the evolution of genome organisation, epigenetic gene regulation and chromosome topology. It aims to understand how genes are ordered along chromosomes, how gene order affects gene regulation and how tight co-ordinate regulation is achieved during organismic interactions.

Advances in genomics and transcriptomics have unveiled that gene order in eukaryotes influences expression patterns, recombination and mutation rates and gene retention over evolutionary time. In addition, diverse examples of clusters for co-localised and co-regulated functionally related genes have been identified in eukaryotes. Such gene clusters are predominately associated with fundamental developmental processes, immunity and metabolism.

Eukaryotic gene clusters are characterised by the co-ordinated and tightly regulated expression of the encoded genes. The co-localisation of functionally-related genes enables the formation of different mechanisms of gene regulation in comparison to the control of dispersed genes. These mechanisms are at the heart of my research. I aim to characterise and understand the key mechanism in the regulation of gene clusters with the following central hypothesis: Eukaryotic gene clusters are delineated by a conserved code of epigenetic marks and reside in dynamic three-dimensional chromosomal domains. These chromatin features mediate the co-ordinate and highly restrictive pattern of cluster transcription, establish a basis for epigenetic cluster regulation and, therefore, shape the cellular response during different developmental stages and changing ecological conditions.

My research will provide fundamental new insights into eukaryotic gene regulation, contribute to a better understanding of the principles of gene-order dependent control of genes, ameliorate the design principles of synthetic multi-gene cassettes, and will thus, ultimately, underpin human interest in disease prevention, food security and synthetic biology.

Willing to supervise doctoral students

Accepting PhD students


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