Prof. Dr. Till Acker


   Jutus Liebig University, Institute for Neuropathology


Hallmarks of Cancer and the Tumor Microenvironment

Medical Omics and Machine Learning in Neurooncology


Ongoing work focuses on the understanding of how stress-sensing mechanisms shape the aggressive tumor phenotype and regulate therapy resistance. Our lab has pioneered work on the microenvironmental role of HIFs and the stress sensors PHDs in setting the hallmarks of cancer. Regions of low oxygen tension are common findings in malignant tumors, being associated with increased frequency of tumor invasion and metastasis, and thus critically determining the clinical behaviour and outcome of tumors. We work on a broad range of topics, primarily related to the functions of the members of the oxygen sensing pathway - HIFs, PHDs, their regulators and downstream effectors - in diverse aspects of cancer biology. We are particularly interested in understanding how stress signals from the tumor microenvironment are sensed and integrated in order to promote tumor growth and progression. We aim at dissecting the role of different organ microenvironment such as the brain and the lung in the control of metastasis with an emphasis on the crosstalk of the oxygen sensing pathway with other cellular signalling pathways, including growth factor/RTK and metabolic signaling. We are further interested in understanding the role of 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases and their interplay with the hypoxic tumor microenvironment in the epigenetic control of tumor growth and metastasis . Clinically, our group is particularly interested in the translational discovery and application of biomarkers through next generation sequencing techniques in conjunction with computational neuropathology for the differential diagnosis and the prediction of therapy responses in brain tumors.


What we offer: We have won a number of external research grants and are involved in several national and international collaborative projects. We use a wide spectrum of methods including DNA methylation array analysis, next generation sequencing, bioinformatic analysis, animal models and in vivo tumor models as well as tumor biopsies, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, light, epifluorescence and confocal microscopy, live cell imaging and image analysis. Our group has a long-standing expertise in the molecular, cellular and functional characterization of brain, lung and breast cancer development, with a special emphasis on microenvironment- and hypoxia-induced mechanisms in tumor biology.

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open PhD position for 2020:

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