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Alexander Meissner, Ph.D.

The Meissner laboratory uses genomic tools to study stem cell biology with a particular focus on epigenetic reprogramming.

The term “epigenetic” refers to stable modifications of the chromatin and DNA that do not alter the primary nucleotide sequence. The global epigenetic makeup of a cell is a powerful indicator of its developmental state and potential. We apply next generation sequencing technologies to study the epigenome in early development, stem cells and cancer.

We are developing and applying high-throughput bisulfite sequencing (HTBS) technologies for genome-wide (nucleotide resolution) DNA methylation analysis. To gain insights into the interaction and regulation of epigenetic modifications (histone modifications and DNA methylation) we use loss of function and gain of function systems.

Pluripotent stem cells have enormous potential for regenerative medicine, and provide a powerful tool for studies in developmental biology and pharmacology. Recent advances in transforming somatic cells directly into pluripotent (iPS) cells provide an attractive avenue for generating patient-specific stem cells. Our lab is identifying the epigenetic changes and components involved in reprogramming and maintaining cellular states.

Alexander Meissner completed his Ph.D. studies with Rudolf Jaenisch at the Whitehead Institute/MIT in 2002. He worked with Rudolf Jaenisch and Eric Lander before starting his own lab in HSCRB, and as an associate member of the Broad Institute, in 2008. In addition to his research in HSCRB, Meissner is Director and Head of the Department of Genome regulation at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, Germany.

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