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About us Medical Sciences Research Pathology Medical Biology Research Epigenetic Editing
University Medical Center Groningen

Introduction & Mission

Follow us on twitter: @EpigeneticsUMCG


It is becoming increasingly clear that many diseases are associated with aberrant gene expression profiles. In the group of Epigenetic Editing, agents are constructed to target epigenetic writers or erasers to specific DNA sequences to address epigenetic mechanisms of gene expression regulation. In addition, we aim to correct so called epigenetic mutations.


Epigenetics refers to the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without a change in the sequence of the DNA. DNA methylation and posttranslational modifications of the histones (DNA-packaging proteins) are well known for affecting gene expression levels. For an increasing list of diseases, abnormalities in gene expression have been linked to aberrant levels of DNA methylation and disturbed profiles of histone modifications (epimutations).

In contrast to genetic mutations, epimutations are reversible. Current drugs targeting epigenetic enzymes show re-expression of silenced genes, thereby revealing new therapeutic targets. However, epigenetic drugs act genome-wide, affect non-chromatin targets and function transiently. In our team, the engineering of DNA sequence specific domains (Zinc Finger Proteins) and the CRISPR technology are exploited to achieve targeting in the human genome. These agents then target epigenetic enzymes to the gene of interest to locally reprogram epigenetic signatures. Epigenetic Editing thus provides a novel approach towards permanent modulation of a gene’s expression level.


The Epigenetic Editing team aims to unravel micro-chromatin instructions determining permissiveness for sustained and effective reprogramming of epigenetic signatures by gene-targeted rewriters of epigenetic marks (EpEditors).

Contact information:

Prof.dr. Marianne G. Rots

Department of Pathology and Medical Biology

University Medical Center Groningen

Hanzeplein 1

9713 GZ Groningen

tel: +31 50 361 0153 (+31 50 361 8043, secr.)

Email:  Marianne Rots  

Last modified:22 March 2016 2.30 p.m.