Understanding Epigenetic Mechanisms during Brain Development

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Tanja Vogel Photo: ZVG
Tanja Vogel Photo: ZVG
Tanja Vogel is coordinating the new German Research Foundation Priority Programme EPIADAPT

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is establishing eleven new Priority Programmes, which are due to start in 2025. The programmes will receive a total of ¤72 million in funding for an initial three years. Tanja Vogel from the University of Freiburg’s Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology will coordinate the Priority Programme ’EPIADAPT: Epigenomic Adaptations of the Developing Neural Chromatin’. EPIADAPT will investigate which epigenetic mechanisms control gene activity during brain development.

Extending our understanding of the integration of external influences on the control of gene activity in the developing brain

Epigenetics refers to changes in chromatin - packaged DNA. Epigenetic adaptations can be passed on to differentiated cells during embryonic development, thus forming an epigenetic memory. These adaptations can be affected by harmful environmental influences and lead to neurodevelopmental disorders in the development of the brain. In addition, nerve cells are the most long-lived cells in the human body and must adapt continually to changing conditions throughout the life course. The new field of neuroepigenetics investigates the epigenetic mechanisms at the molecular level that contribute to the control of gene activity in physiological adaptation processes in brain cells, as well as their dysregulation due to harmful environmental influences and in neurodevelopmental disorders. ’With EPIADAPT, we will investigate which molecular mechanisms influence the epigenome or are influenced by it during development and what consequences this has for the cells. In this way, we want to extend our fundamental understanding of the integration of external influences on the control of gene activity in the developing brain’, says Vogel.
  • Tanja Vogel has been professor for anatomy at the University of Freiburg since 2011. She has served since 2017 as spokesperson of the University of Freiburg Research Training Group 2344, ’MeInBio’.


DFG https://www.dfg.de/de/service/p­resse/pres­semitteilu­ngen/2024/ nr-12