How do leukemia oncoproteins drive cancer development?

How can we exploit our knowledge about molecular mechanisms in leukemia development to improve patient management?

In the Grebien laboratory, we use a multidisciplinary approach to dissect molecular mechanisms that underlie cancer development. The focus of our research is Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a cancer of white blood cells that is characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal myeloid cells. Their accumulation in the bone marrow interferes with the production of normal blood cells, leading to dysfunctional hematopoiesis.

AML development is caused by dysfunction of factors that are required to regulate normal blood development. Recent genomic studies have shown that leukemia oncoproteins often arise from mutations in genes that encode transcription factors and epigenetic modulators.

We believe that oncogenic mechanisms of AML fusion proteins are hard-wired in specific networks of physical, genetic and epigenetic interactions with key effector proteins. Functional exploration of these networks will provide new insights into cellular processes that depend on critical effector proteins of AML oncoproteins. Thus, the goal of our research is a comprehensive systems-level investigation of oncogenic mechanisms employed by AML oncoproteins.

By combining novel cell line and animal models of AML with cutting-edge proteomic-, epigenomic- and transcriptomic approaches, we have established a robust experimental pipeline for the functional characterization of AML oncoproteins in a multilayered fashion. This is complemented by functional studies in mouse models and primary human samples to detect molecular vulnerabilities that are dependent on the oncogenic mutation of interest.

Find out more about the research in the FG group…

16.10.2020 We have an exciting PhD position available in Acute Myeloid Leukemia research – find out more here!

News from the Grebien Lab

02.10.2020: Congratulations to Stefan, who successfully defended his thesis on the 30th of September! Very well done!

31.07.2020: Goodbye to our wonderful and always smiling colleague and friend Theresa – It was a pleasure working with you and we’ll miss you a lot! Good luck with all your future plans, we’ll definitely stay in touch 🙂

13.07.2020: Welcome to the lab Edwin and Martin. We look forward to working with you!

25.06.2020: Goodbye to our fantastic colleague Joey – you will be greatly missed! We wish you all the best and hope to stay in touch 🙂

02.06.2020: Congratulations to our motivated and brilliant PhD fellow, Selina Tröster, for being awarded a competitive DOC PhD Fellowship by the ÖAW to establish a novel protein degradation model to study NUP98-fusion proteins in AML!

28.04.2020: Exciting work on NUP98-fusion proteins and their targets in AML – out today in Blood Journal. Congratulations Joey and all involved!!! Available at

Find out more about what we’re up to…


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