CeMM: How nuclear metabolism controls (cancer) genes: ERC Consolidator Grant awarded to CeMM-PI Stefan Kubicek

What impact do the nuclear components of metabolism have on gene expression? And how does the distribution of metabolites contribute to the emergence of cancer? To answer those key questions, a Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council ERC was awarded to Stefan Kubicek, Principal Investigator at CeMM.

Genes need to be controlled. This very basic principle for a well-functioning cell – and thus a healthy organism – has been investigated thoroughly during the last decades. Huge progress in disciplines like epigenetics has revealed that in the cell´s nucleus various kinds of biomolecules are highly compartmentalized to occupy distinct regions of the chromatin – the material chromosomes are made of – and contribute to the regulation of genes. In contrast, small molecules and cellular metabolites are generally considered to lack a distinct subnuclear localization and not directly influence gene expression.

This assumption is challenged by Stefan Kubicek, Principal Investigator at CeMM: based on preliminary results from his laboratory, he hypothesizes that chromatin-bound enzymes of central metabolism and subnuclear metabolite gradients contribute to gene regulation and cellular identity – and also to the emergence of cancer. To address this hypothesis, Stefan Kubicek was awarded with a ERC consolidator grant with the project title “chromabolism” (from chromatin and metabolism) worth ~2 Million Euro.

Stefan Kubicek studied organic chemistry in Vienna and Zürich. He received his Ph.D. in Thomas Jenuwein’s group at the IMP in Vienna followed by postdoctoral work with Stuart Schreiber at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT in the U.S. He joined CeMM in 2010, and is also head of the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Chemical Epigenetics and Antiinfectives.

Principal Investigators at CeMM so far received 2 ERC Advanced Investigator Grants, 4 ERC Starting Grants and 2 Proof of Concept Grants. Stefan Kubicek is now awarded with CeMM’s first ERC Consolidator Grant. ERC Consolidator Grants are designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they may still be consolidating their own independent research team or programme. Applicant Principal Investigators must demonstrate the ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal. Consolidator Grants may be awarded up to a maximum of 2 Million Euro for a period of 5 years. erc.europa.eu/funding/consolidator-grants

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Research Center for Molecular Medicine
of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
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Email: wdaeuble(at)cemm.oeaw.ac.at
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