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

05.07.2021:  Welcome to the lab to our new summer student Theresa!

24.06.2021:  Great (and very hot!) day hiking in Helenental on our first lab outing in a very long time!

28.04.2021: Yet another award from the FG Lab! Big congratulations to Jessica for winning the first prize of 5000 EUR for her poster at the CCC-TRIO Symposium! Find more information here at CCC-TRIO-Award.

08.04.2021: Big congratulations to Selina on winning the “Jubiläumspreis” at the OeGHO and AHOP Frühjahrstagung 2021!

06.04.2021: A very warm welcome to our newest PhD student Melanie! We’re looking forward to working with you 🙂

17.03.2021: Announcing: Elizabeth Heyes, PhD!! After working hard during the last years and publishing her first author paper in February, Lisi successfully defended her thesis on the 17th of March this year!

23.02.2021: Yet another paper from the #grebienlab! Our latest story by Heyes et al. in Leukemia shows how integrated analysis of ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq and RNA-seq datasets combined with small, focused CRISPR/Cas9 screens can elucidate novel oncogenic mechanisms in CEBPA-mutated AML. Find out more at!

Find out more about what we’re up to…


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