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Prof. Dr. Gergana Dobreva

The main interest of my group is the study of the mechanisms regulating progenitor cell maintenance, cell commitment, lineage specification, differentiation and transdifferentiation in normal development and pathological alterations of the heart and the lung. These are issues of major clinical relevance, given the fact that congenital cardiac abnormalities are the most common genetic defects in humans and that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide.

An improved understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating cardiogenesis and cardiac progenitor cell function is a prerequisite for the successful design of therapeutic strategies for genetic heart diseases and regenerative approaches for heart failure. Additional work in my group has focused on epigenetic mechanisms involved in lung aging and lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Methodologically our principal strengths lie in the fields of genetics, cell biology, developmental biology, gene regulation, epigenetic regulation, chromatin organization, genome stability and cancer.

Main Research Topics

  • Transcriptional and epigenetic control of cardiovascular development and disease
  • Pathways and players in zebrafish heart development and regeneration
  • Endothelial-cardiomyocyte interactions in cardiovascular development and disease
  • Epigenetics in cancer initiation and progression
Transcriptional and epigenetic control of cardiovascular development and disease

Project-related publications

  1. Yuan X, Qi H, Li X, Wu F, Fang J, Bober E, Dobreva G, Zhou Y, Braun T. “ Disruption of spatiotemporal hypoxic signaling causes congenital heart disease in mice. ” J Clin Invest. 2017 Jun 1;127(6):2235-2248.
  2. Witzel HR, Cheedipudi S, Gao R, Stainier DY, Dobreva G. “Isl2b regulates anterior second heart field development in zebrafish.” Sci Rep. 2017,7:41043.
  3. Mehta A, Cordero J, Dobersch S, Romero-Olmedo AJ, Savai R, Bodner J, Chao CM, Fink L, Guzmán-Díaz E, Singh I, Dobreva G, Rapp UR, Günther S, Ilinskaya ON, Bellusci S, Dammann RH, Braun T, Seeger W, Gattenlöhner S, Tresch A, Günther A, Barreto G. “Non-invasive lung cancer diagnosis by detection of GATA6 and NKX2-1 isoforms in exhaled breath condensate.” EMBO Mol Med. 2016, 8(12):1380-1389.
  4. Caputo L, Witzel HR, Kolovos P, Cheedipudi S, Looso M, Mylona A, van IJcken WF, Laugwitz KL, Evans SM, Braun T, Soler E, Grosveld F, Dobreva G. “The Isl1/Ldb1 Complex Orchestrates Genome-wide Chromatin Organization to Instruct Differentiation of Multipotent Cardiac Progenitors.” Cell Stem Cell 2015, 17(3):287-99
  5. Dobreva G, Braun T. “The transcriptional landscape of regenerating newborn mouse hearts.” Circ Res 2015, 116(5):767-9
  6. Dorn T, Goedel A, Lam JT, Haas J, Tian Q, Herrmann F, Bundschu K, Dobreva G, Schiemann M,  Dirschinger R, Yanchun G, Kühl S, Sinnecker D, Lipp P, Laugwitz KL, Kühl M,  Moretti A. “Direct Nkx2-5 transcriptional repression of Isl1 controls cardiomyocyte subtype identity.” Stem Cells 2015, 33(4): 1113-1129
  7. Leone DP, Heavner WE, Ferenczi EA, Dobreva G, Huguenard JR, Grosschedl R, McConnell SK. “Satb2 Regulates the Differentiation of Both Callosal and Subcerebral Projection Neurons in the Developing Cerebral Cortex.” Cereb Cortex 2015, 25(10): 3406-19
  8. Cheedipudi S, Genolet O, Dobreva G. “Epigenetic inheritance of cell fates during embryonic development.” Front Genet 2014, 5:19.
  9. Ohtani K, Zhao C, Dobreva G, Manavski Y, Kluge B, Braun T, Rieger MA, Zeiher AM, Dimmeler S. “Jmjd3 controls mesodermal and cardiovascular differentiation of embryonic stem cells.” Circ Res 2013, 113(7):856-62
  10. Srinivasan K, Leone DP, Bateson RK, Dobreva G, Kohwi Y, Kohwi-Shigematsu T, Grosschedl R, McConnell SK. “A network of genetic repression and derepression specifies projection fates in the developing neocortex.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2012, 109(47):19071-8

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