Exit Menu

Symposium on epigenetics in cancer

The Brunel Centre for Genome Engineering and Maintenance hosted a symposium on Epigenetics in Cancer on 10th and 11th May 2021, bringing together a group of world-leading international researchers to share and discuss their latest findings in this fast-moving field.

Epigenetic modifications to DNA do not alter the coding sequence of genes but regulate when, where and how much gene product is produced. Disrupting this epigenetic code can have serious effects on the expression of cancer-causing genes. Over the two-day virtual meeting we learnt about key biological pathways controlling and interpreting epigenetic signals, how these affect cancers such as leukaemia, childhood brain cancers and colorectal cancer, and about new cancer treatments designed to target faulty epigenetic signals.

The highlight of the meeting was the keynote lecture was given by Professor Doug Higgs, former director of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford, who gave us an elegant review of his seminal work on the epigenetic regulation of the alpha globin locus. We had exciting presentations from invited speakers across the UK, Europe and the USA and also short talks from early career researchers and Brunel academics, which showcased our homegrown talent to over 100 registered participants.

The topics covered included clonal haematopoesis and epigenetic modifiers, Polycomb mutations and therapies, the role of MYCN in neuroblastoma, infant leukaemia, and DNA methylation and Hydroxmethylation in colon cancer with lively discussions amongst the speakers and participants. A networking session allowed more junior early career researchers from Brunel and laboratories around the world to informally present their projects, and get scientific and careers advice from the speakers and senior researchers.  

View the programme of the symposium

Day 1 Monday 10th May 

Introduction and Keynote

  • 09:45 - 10:00     Zoom meeting log in
  • 10:00 - 10.05     Welcome: Joanna Bridger, Director of CenGEM, Brunel; Chaired by Eric Schirmer
  • 10:05 - 10:45     Keynote address: Doug Higgs, Oxford
  • Break 10.45 to 11:00

Networking Session

  • 11.00 - 11:15     Overview of CenGEM and the Cancer Cluster at Brunel University
  • 11:15 - 12:10     Scientific speed dating with early career researchers and senior researchers informally introducing their projects. Chaired by Brunel Researchers
  • Lunch 12:15 to 13:30 

Plenary session 1: General epigenetics and haematological malignancies Chaired by Gerald de Haan

  • 13:30 - 14:00     Kristina Kirschner, Glasgow
  • 14:00 - 14:15     Denise Ragusa, Brunel
  • Break 14:15 to 14.30 
  • 14:30 - 15:00     Luciano di Croce, Barcelona
  • 15:00 - 15:30     Sahand Hormoz, Harvard
  • Break 15:30 to 15.45 
  • 15:45 - 16:00     Shikha Gupta, Cambridge
  • 16:00 - 16:30     Maria Figueroa, Miami
  • 16:30 END 

Day 2 Tuesday 11th May 

Plenary Session 2: Epigenetics of childhood cancers Chaired by Arturo Sala

  • 10:00 - 10:30     Paolo Salomoni, Bonn
  • 10:30 - 11:00     Giovanni Perini, Bologna
  • Break 11:00 to 11:30 
  • 11.30 - 11:45     Aakila Sammy, Brunel
  • 11:45 - 12:15     Katrin Ottersbach, Edinburgh
  • 12:15 - 12:30     Alexia Tsakaneli, Brunel
  • Lunch 12:30 to 13:30 

Plenary Session 3: Epigenetics of solid tumours Chaired by Manos Karteris

  • 13:30 - 14:00 Jessie Hsu, Astra Zeneca, Boston
  • 14:15 - 14:45 Daniela Furlan, Varese
  • Break 14:45 to 15.00 
  • 15:00 - 14:15 Laura Libera, Varese
  • 15:15 - 15:45 Adele Murrell, Bath
  • 15:45 - 16:00 Meeting wrap up organisers
  • 16:30 END