Epigenetics team

  • Dr. Lasse Sinkkonen, Principle investigator (Research Scientist)
  • Dr. Tony Heurtaux (Research scientist)
  • Dr. Jochen Ohnmacht (Post-doctoral researcher, jointly with LCSB)
  • Dr. Déborah Gerard (Post-doctoral researcher)
  • Marios Gavriil (PhD student)
  • Sergio Helgueta Romero (PhD student)
  • Borja Gomez Ramos (PhD student)
  • Perla Saoud (PhD student, jointly with MDM group)
  • Anagha Gaikwad (Master student)
  • Prof. Thomas Sauter (Professor of Systems Biology)

Our research focuses on understanding gene regulation and epigenetic mechanisms that determine cell identity in differentiation and disease in mammalian cells. We use in vitro cell culture systems, human cell types derived from induced pluripotent stem cells and primary cells from human and mouse tissues to apply genome-wide epigenomics approaches like RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, (single cell) ATAC-seq, and nanopore sequencing to study how cells differentiate and maintain their identity. In particular we focus on gene control at the chromatin level and how this is perturbed in disease states like Parkinson’s disease and cancer, for example through regulatory genetic variation, changes in gene regulatory networks, or altered activity of chromatin modifiers. Through collaborative projects also other model organisms such as budding yeast are being studied.

Close affiliation within the Systems Biology group of Prof. Thomas Sauter enables interdisciplinary research projects that combine both experimental laboratory work and computational biology approaches

Current on-going/funded projects include:

  • Gene regulatory networks in mesenchymal lineage commitment and prediction of reprogramming factors.

           (Funding: FNR-ANR INTER, Pelican Foundation)

  • Epigenetic regulation in neural stem cells and dopaminergic neurons derived from Parkinson’s disease patients.

           (Funding: FNR-PRIDE, Pelican Foundation, Rotary Clubs of Luxembourg)

  • Identifying novel genetic and epigenetic modulators of substantia nigra dopaminergic neuron structure and function.

           (Funding: FNR-CORE)

  • Prodromal epigenetic changes in Parkinson’s disease development.

           (Funding: FNR-PRIDE)

  • Parkinson’s disease-specific epigenetic signatures in blood cells.

           (Funding: Personalized Medicine Consortium, Active Motif)

  • Methyladenine as an epigenetic regulator of brain development.

           (Funding: Rotary Clubs of Luxembourg)

  • Oncometabolite 2-hydroxyglutarate as a regulator of chromatin and gene expression.

           (Funding: University of Luxembourg Internal Research Project)

  • Transcriptional control of autophagy during melanoma progression and metastasis.

           (Funding: Horizon2020-Marie Curie Initial Training Network)




  • Prof. Marcel Schulz (Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany)
  • Prof. Harald Neumann (Institute for Reconstructive Neurobiology, Bonn, Germany)
  • Prof. Robert Williams (University of Tennessee, Memphis, USA)
  • Prof. Hans-Uwe Simon (University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland)
  • Dr. Loic Pauleve (CNRS, Bordeaux, France)
  • Prof. Dagmar Kulms (Universitätsklinikum, Dresden, Germany)
  • Prof Patrizia Agostinis (VIB-KULeuven Center for Cancer Biology)
  • Prof Laurent Nguyen (University of Liege) $
  • Prof Klaus Schughart (Helmholz Centre for Infection Research)
  • Dr Joanne Trinh (University of Lübeck)


  • Prof. Rudi Balling (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine)
  • Dr. Manuel Buttini (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine)
  • Prof. Antonio del Sol (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine)
  • Prof. Enrico Glaab (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine)
  • Prof. Anne Grünewald (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine)
  • Prof Rejko Krüger (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine)
  • Prof. Carole Linster (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine)
  • Dr. Patrick May (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine)
  • Prof. Dr. Michel Mittelbronn (Laboratoire National de Santé)
  • Prof. Jens Schwamborn (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine)
  • Prof. Alexander Skupin (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine)
  • Dr. Roland Krause (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine)
  • Dr. Jonathan Turner (Luxembourg Institute for Health)
  • Dr. Jacques Zimmer (Luxembourg Institute for Health)