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Christine S. Schmidt

German

Curriculum Vitae

since 2008

PhD student in the group of Prof. Heinrich Leonhardt, LMU Munich

2007 - 2008

Diploma thesis at the “National Cancer Institute, NIH”, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Topic of Diploma Thesis: Chromatin modifications in response to DNA damage

2006

ERASMUS student at the Institute of Biomedical Research, Science Park of Barcelona and Department of Cell Biology, University of Barcelona, Spain

2002 - 2008

Studies at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany

Scholarships

since 2009

Scholarship of the IDK-NBT (Elitenetwork of Bavaria)

since 2008

Student of the International Max-Planck Research School for Life Sciences (IMPRS-LS)

2007

Scholarship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Research Project

Every multicellular organism consists of cells that are genetically homogenous but structurally and functionally heterogeneous owing to differential gene expression, which is mediated by epigenetic factors, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, nuclear RNA and non-histone chromatin proteins. DNA methylation occurs at cytosine residues of CpG dinucleotides and is associated with gene silencing. In mammalian cells, DNA methylation is catalyzed by two types of DNA methyltransferases (Dnmts): the maintenance methyltransferase Dnmt1 and the de novo methyltransferases Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b. The establishment and proper propagation of the respective CpG methylation is crucial for various processes like i.e. development and differentiation and therefore is essential to faithfully maintain genomic integrity. How this complex epigenetic network is established and regulated still remains to be elucidated.

During my PhD, I would like to gain more insights into the interplay between non-coding RNA and DNA methylation. For this purpose, I developed a non-radioactive in vitro RNA-protein binding assay to identify possible RNA substrates for DNA methyltransferases. In parallel to this project, I will analyze genome-wide the expression profiles of pluripotent murine embryonic stem (ES) cell lines in comparison to knock-out embryonic stem cell lines carrying mutations in different epigenetic key regulators. One central aim of this project is to identify groups of coregulated genes and epigenetic pathways in pluripotent embryonic stem cell lines.