Ralf Kittler, Ph.D.

In cancer cells the normal balance between tumor suppressive and oncogenic gene networks is impaired, which enables cancer cells to proliferate abnormally, evade apoptosis, and metastasize. Thus, cancer is ultimately a disease of deregulated gene expression and therefore the understanding of cancer-specific genetic programs is key for the development of new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic strategies. Our lab takes genomics approaches to decipher the functions of cancer-relevant transcription factors in breast, lung and prostate cancer and to translate this knowledge into new approaches for detection and treatment of cancer:

  1. We combine analyses of the genomic binding sites of cancer-relevant transcription factors, epigenetic, gene expression and clinical outcome data to make specific predictions about the role of transcription factors and functional interaction of multiple transcription factors in the regulation of cancer-relevant gene networks
  2. We use RNAi screening to identify druggable modulators of transcription factors whose direct therapeutic targeting is challenging as molecules for targeted therapies.
  3. We analyze the expression of the target genes of oncogenic transcription factors in tissues and serum of cancer patients to identify novel biomarkers.