Siyao Wang joins IMB as a Group Leader


01 June – The Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) is pleased to announce that Siyao Wang is joining IMB as a new group leader. Siyao joins us from the Institute for Genome Stability in Ageing and Disease (IGSAD) in Cologne, Germany, where she worked as a group leader. Her research focuses on how DNA damage and repair affects epigenetic regulation in the model organism C. elegans, and whether this could have long-term effects on the health and longevity of their offspring.

Siyao’s lab works to understand how cells repair their DNA and how this repair process influences histone modifications in the genome. DNA is a fragile molecule that is frequently damaged by UV radiation or chemicals from the environment. Such damage must be regularly repaired, or they will lead to mutations that prevent the cell from functioning normally.

During the DNA repair process, the cell makes alterations to its histone modifications. These histone modifications play an important role in opening the chromatin to make it more accessible for DNA repair proteins, as well as recruiting them to the site of damage.

Importantly, changes in histone modifications can also affect gene expression, and previous studies have shown that these changes may even be inherited by offspring. Such inherited epigenetic changes can affect the health and longevity of the offspring. Siyao is particularly interested in finding out whether the histone modification changes during DNA repair might also cause long-term effects that are inherited in subsequent generations. Her lab will also investigate whether somatic and reproductive ageing causes histone modification changes that are inherited in offspring, as ageing is not only associated with more mutations due to a lifetime of exposure to DNA-damaging factors, but also reduced DNA repair.

By studying how DNA repair causes long-term or transgenerational epigenetic alterations, Siyao’s research can help us better understand the heritable effects of somatic and reproductive ageing, and identify therapeutic approaches to prevent congenital diseases caused by parental DNA damage.

Further details

Siyao Wang is a Group Leader at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB). Further information about research in the Wang lab can be found at www.imb.de/wang.

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a centre of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB focuses on the cutting-edge fields of epigenetics, genome stability, ageing and RNA biology. The institute is a prime example of successful collaboration between a private foundation and government: The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has committed 154 million euros to be disbursed from 2009 until 2027 to cover the operating costs of research at IMB. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate has provided approximately 50 million euros for the construction of a state-of-the-art building and is giving a further 52 million in core funding from 2020 until 2027. For more information about IMB, please visit: www.imb.de.

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. Through its Perspectives Programme Plus 3 and its Exploration Grants, the Foundation supports independent junior group leaders. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize, as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists in Germany. In addition, the Foundation funds institutional projects in Germany, such as the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), the department of life sciences at the University of Mainz, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. www.bistiftung.de

Press contact for further information

Dr Ralf Dahm, Director of Scientific Management

Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Phone: +49 (0) 6131 39 21455, Email: press(at)imb.de