The aim of the experimental Emmy Noether Junior Research Group, headed by PD Dr. Jan-Henning Klusmann, is to understand the molecular basis for the development of myeloid leukemia (AML). To achieve this goal and to model this disease, we employ state-of-the-art molecular techniques. In the focus of our research are children with Down syndrome, who are highly predisposed to develop AML. Over the past years the group contributed to the identification of non-protein-coding genes on chromosome 21, which are involved in disease pathogenesis. We could uncover the complex transcriptional network, which is deregulated during the process of malignant transformation. One factor that is essential for the normal blood development, GATA1, is particularly important for this process and is in the spotlight of our research group.

Recent efforts focus on non-coding RNAs, which were considered as cellular “junk” in the past. Recent insights into the transcriptome, however, elucidated their importance for key cellular functions. We built an atlas of all known non-coding RNAs in the blood system and analyze their function for normal blood development and their contribution to malignant transformation during leukemia.