"Emerging Epigenetics: Detecting & Modifying Epigenetics Marks" 12-13 March 2018, Homerton College, Cambridge

Prof. Pengtao Liu

School of Biomedical Sciences Faculty of medicine University of Hong Kong

Dr. Liu graduate from Henan Normal University. He obtained his M.Sc from Chinese Academy of Sciences and Institute of Genetics, and received a Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Liu did his postdoc training at National Cancer Institute. He is currently a Professor at University of Hong Kong. Prior to joining HKU, he was a Senior Group Leader at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Dr. Liu’s laboratory is working on stem cells, development, immunity and cancer.
Selected recent papers
Yang, J. et al. Establishment in Culture of Mouse Expanded Potential Stem Cells. Nature 550, 393-397 (2017).
Yu, Y. et al. Single-cell RNA-seq identifies a PD-1hi ILC progenitor and defines its development pathway. Nature 539, 102-106 (2016).
Tsang, C. H. J. et al. Single-cell transcriptomic reconstruction reveals cell cycle and multi-lineage differentiation defects in Bcl11a-deficient hematopoietic stem cells. Genome Biology 16, 178 (2015).
Yu, Y. et al. The transcription factor Bcl11b is specifically expressed in group 2 innate lymphoid cells and is essential for their development. J Exp Med, doi:10.1084/jem.20142318 (2015).
Khaled, W. T. et al. BCL11A is a triple-negative breast cancer gene with critical functions in stem and progenitor cells. Nat Commun 6, 5987, doi:10.1038/ncomms6987 (2015).
Yang, J. et al. Signalling Through Retinoic Acid Receptors is Required for Reprogramming of Both Mouse Embryonic Fibroblast Cells and Epiblast Stem Cells to Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. Stem Cells 33, 1390-1404, doi:10.1002/stem.1926 (2015).
Yu, Y. et al. Bcl11a is essential for lymphoid development and negatively regulates p53. J Exp Med. 209, 2467-2483, doi:10.1084/jem.20121846 (2012).
Wang, W. et al. Rapid and efficient reprogramming of somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells by retinoic acid receptor gamma and liver receptor homolog 1. PNAS 108, 18283- 18288, doi:10.1073/pnas.1100893108 (2011).
Li, P. et al. Reprogramming of T cells to natural killer-like cells upon Bcl11b deletion. Science 329, 85-89, doi:science.1188063 [pii]

Dr Clara Novo

Babraham Institute

Clara is a senior research scientist in the lab of Dr. Peter Rugg-Gunn at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, where she dissects the epigenetic mechanisms of three-dimensional genome organization of embryonic stem cells.

Clara’s research focuses in understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible for genome stability and nuclear organization. Clara obtained her Ph. D. in Genetics from the University of Leicester, where she gained experience in the molecular mechanisms of genomic instability in cancer cells. Prior joining the Rugg-Gunn lab in Cambridge, Clara was awarded two Postdoctoral Fellowships to investigate the replication, organisation and epigenetic stability of telomeres with Dr. Arturo Londoño-Vallejo at the Institute Curie in Paris and with Dr. Vincent Castronovo at the GIGA Institute in Liege. During this period, Clara developed a strong interest in how epigenetics contributes to the 3D genome organization and thus she moved back to the UK to join the Rugg-Gunn’s lab. Her research has been furthering the understanding of how epigenetics contributes to genome organization during pluripotency state transition.

Clara is also a Postdoctoral By-Fellow at Churchill College, where she is involved in mentoring and supervision and a recurrent guest lecturer for the Certificate in Genetics at the Institute of Continuing Education in Cambridge, where she lectures on Epigenetics.

In parallel, Clara explores various venues for science communication and engagement with the public, either by giving lectures on Epigenetics or organizing science-inspired art related events.

Prof. Skirmantas Kriaucionis

University of Oxford

Dr Skirmantas Kriaucionis graduated from Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania. His final project was about investigating target recognition mechanisms of bacterial DNA methyltransferases. He obtained Darwin Trust Scholarship for phD studies in University of Edinburgh, where he joined Prof. Adrian Bird laboratory. He embarked on investigating gene expression abnormalities in mouse model of Rett Syndrome. After short post-doc in the same group, he went to join Prof. Nathaniel Heintz group in Rockefeller University, New York. Investigating of DNA methylation in defined neuronal cell types led to identification new DNA modified base – 5-hydroxymethylcytosine. He started as a group leader in Oxford University, Ludwig Institute for Cancer research in 2010, where he is still now. He works on metabolism and function of modified bases in normal cells and cancer.

Dr Colm Nestor

Linköping University

Colm Nestor is currently an assistant professor at Linköping University, Sweden. After several years working as a bioinformatics specialist in the biotech industry in Iceland and the UK, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow, studying the effect of DNA methylation on the stability of microsatellites. Subsequently, he undertook postgraduate work in the lab of Professor Richard Meehan at the University of Edinburgh, dissecting the role of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in regulating gene expression in humans. Dr Nestor’s research group aims to understand the function of DNA methylation in the biology of human CD4+ T-cells, and use this knowledge to dissect its role in disease. More specifically, combining basic molecular biology, next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics and systems biology he hopes to elucidate the function of DNA de-methylation in the pathogenesis of T-cell malignancies. For more information about Colm Nestor’s research see the following websites:

Dr Irene Herraez

Babraham Institute

Dr Herraez did her Phd at the Evolutionary Biology Institute in Barcelona working on epigenetics and human evolution. In 2015, she joined Professor Wolf Reik’s lab at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge. Dr Herraez has extensive experience in bioinformatics and single cell technology. In 2017 she was awarded a Marie Skłodowksa-Curie postdoctoral Fellowship to investigate the role of DNA methylation in cell fate, development and ageing.

Dr Gabriele Schweikert

University of Edinburgh

Gabriele was initially trained as a physicist, but became interested in the biological sciences early in her undergraduate studies. She first worked in the group of Prof. Baumeister (Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Munich), where she used cryo- electron tomography to visualise molecular complexes in the synaptic cleft. In the context of image processing she became aware of the power of modern machine learning techniques to extract patterns from diverse, complex data. To learn more about these methods and to apply them to biologically relevant questions, she joined the groups of Bernhard Schoelkopf, Detlef Weigel and Gunnar Raetsch at the Max Planck Campus in Tuebingen. During her PhD she developed a new computational gene finding system and worked on sequence variation detection. For her postdoctoral studies she moved to Edinburgh, joining the groups of Prof Adrian Bird (Wellcome Trust Center for Cell Biology) and Prof Guido Sanguinetti (School of Informatics).  While holding a Marie Curie and an EMBO Long Term Fellowship she explored computational means to foster our understanding of epigenomic control mechanisms in gene regulation. This year she will be starting her own research group on computational epigenomics at the University of Dundee.

Dr Moyra Lawrence

University of Cambridge

Moyra did her PhD at the University of Cambridge, working on reprogramming in Jose Silva’s lab at the WT/MRC Stem Cell Institute. There she generated knockout mouse embryonic stem cells, epiblast stem cells and neural stem cells using the recently discovered CRISPR/Cas9 system. She went on to do a postdoc in Robert Schneider’s lab in the IGBMC in Strasbourg and then in Helmholtz Zentrum, Munich, further using CRISPR/Cas9 to delete histone modifying enzymes, and finally designing recruitment strategies for epigenetic factors to genomic loci using CRISPR/Cas9. Her main interest is cell state change and it’s epigenetic underpinnings. She is currently working in Cedric Ghevaert’s lab in Cambridge on a megakaryocyte differentiation protocol from human iPS cells for in vitro platelet generation.

Dr Agnieszka Zelisko-Schmidt


Agnieszka did her PhD at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland), working in the Department of Plant Physiology on senescence-induced degradation of the photosynthetic apparatus in plants. After her Post-doc at Umea University in Sweden she decided to work for a biotech company. Since 2007 she joined Diagenode, a company specialized in the development and commercialization of products for epigenetics. Currently, she is working as Product Manager responsible for antibodies and chromatin portfolio.

Dr Céline Sabatel


Celine Sabatel has a Master’s degree in biochemistry and a PhD degree in Molecular Biology (University of Liege). After her PhD (in 2010), she starts working at Diagenode as a research scientist in R&D. She was in charge of ChIP-seq projects, especially the development of ChIP-seq approaches for low cell amounts. In 2013, she became R&D team leader for the development of new kits and reagents. In addition to ChIP-seq reagents, this function involves the development of protocols and reagents for the study of DNA methylation and RNAs. For some time she was also involved in the Epigenetic Service offered by Diagenode for the generation of ChIP-seq data. Since June 2017, Céline Sabatel is the R&D Manager for the Epigenetic.

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