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Division of Molecular Genetics

Prof. Dr. Peter Lichter

We are aiming to uncover tumor pathomechanisms to understand the biological behavior of tumors. We use this knowledge for the identification of novel targets for interventions and for identifying clinically relevant prognostic markers and signatures. The research of the division focuses on brain tumors and B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Strategically, we pursue comprehensive molecular profiling screens of tumors, on the level of the genome, the methylome and/or the transcriptome, using microarray technology and nextgeneration sequencing of nucleic acids. Candidate genes are subsequently validated functionally in vitro and in vivo. Integration of such data allows identification of molecular pathways and networks that can be specifically targeted. In order to translate these findings into clinical settings, inhibitors of predicted targets are tested in preclinical models.

The specific topics in the division address:

Brain tumors

  • Tumor metabolism
  • Targeting tumor subpopulations with stemness character
  • Pathophysiology of childhood brain tumors
  • Animal models
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Targeting the tumor microenvironment
  • Animal models
Translational Oncology
  • Development of prognostic and predictive markers and signatures to meet clinical needs
  • Heidelberg Center for Personalized Oncology (DKFZ-HIPO)

Selected Publications

Gronych, J., et al. An activated mutant BRAF kinase domain is sufficient to induce pilocytic astrocytoma in mice. J Clin Invest 121, 1344-1348 (2011)

Jones, D.T., et al. Dissecting the genomic complexity underlying medulloblastoma. Nature 488, 100-105 (2012)

Schulz, A., et al. Lenalidomide reduces survival of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells in primary cocultures by altering the myeloid microenvironment. Blood 121, 2503-2511 (2013)

Tönjes, M., et al. BCAT1 promotes cell proliferation through amino acid catabolism in gliomas carrying wild-type IDH1. Nature Medicine 19, 901-908 (2013)

last update: 17/09/2014 back to top