The new year begins with a successful PhD defense. Congratulations to Dr. rer. nat. Maurice Labuhn, for graduating from the HBRS Molecular Medicine PhD program with top honours (summa cum laude). His thesis is titled “Functional analysis of the leukemic evolution in children with Down syndrome utilizing CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing”.
In 10-20% of children with with Down syndrome, the genetic combination trisomy 21 and a truncating mutation in GATA1 causes a transient leukemia called transient abnormal myelopoiesis (TAM). In rare cases, these children go on to develop full-blown myeloid leukemia (ML-DS), which is thought to be driven by subsequent mutations in TAM cells. Maurice’s PhD projects focused on leveraging CRISPR-Cas9 technology to model these genetic events, and to thus delineate the progression from trisomy 21 to TAM to ML-DS. His work resulted in two first-author publications: 1) introducing a tool to predict CRISPR-Cas9 sgRNA cutting efficacy (CRISPRater), and 2) functional interrogation of genetic events that synergize with GATA1s to drive ML-DS (accepted in Cancer Cell).
Maurice is now woking as a postdoctoral fellow in the Experimental Virology group at Twincore. We wish him all the best!