Lingner Lab, EPFL Research Labs
The physical ends of chromosomes, known as telomeres, play critical roles in cancer development, age-related disorders and short telomere syndromes. Telomeres protect chromosomes from degradation and rearrangements that are typically seen in cancer. Telomeres also serve as cellular clocks. They shorten in the absence of telomerase limiting cellular lifespan. In most tumors, telomerase is upregulated in order to counteract telomere shortening. Through the expression of telomerase, human cancer cells acquire an immortal phenotype. The Lingner Lab combines telomeric chromatin analysis by mass spectrometry, biochemistry and molecular genetics to study the dynamics of telomere structure, function and replication in human cells under normal and pathological situations. Their work may allow manipulation of telomere functions in tumors and other diseased tissues in the future.