Prof. Frank Buchholz is Awarded a DFG Grant for Pioneering Gene Editing Research

The Buchholz group has secured a €1.25 million grant from the DFG to advance therapeutic gene editing through innovative epigenetic silencing research.

Professor Frank Buchholz © CRTD

We are delighted to announce that Prof. Frank Buchholz, an associate researcher of the Cluster of Excellence, Physics of Life (PoL), has received a prestigious grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). The Buchholz group has been awarded 1.25 million euros through the Reinhart Koselleck Programme for their project titled “Research into long-term epigenetic silencing modules to further develop the potential of therapeutic gene editing.". DFG-funded Reinhart Koselleck Projects are designed to support highly innovative and potentially risky research endeavours by outstanding scientists, providing opportunities to pursue projects based on their exceptional scientific achievements.

This funding will enable the Buchholz group to establish an innovative platform aimed at enhancing the precision and efficacy of gene editing therapeutics. The project will focus on screening for, and molecularly characterizing new epigenetic editors, that can achieve long-term gene suppression through silencing. This approach allows for changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype without altering the underlying DNA sequence, offering potential clinical benefits independent of genetic code modifications. Importantly, gene silencing approaches differ from direct gene editing as they target smaller, more accessible RNA molecules, and are also are theoretically reversible (rather than permanent in the case of gene editing).

The insights gained from long-term gene silencing will be expected to significantly advance our understanding of epigenetics, paving the way for more sophisticated and targeted gene therapy approaches. Ultimately, this research aims to contribute to more successful long-term treatments for various genetic disorders and diseases.

Congratulations to the Buchholz group!