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Professorship of Genome Biology, ETH Zurich

NOMIS Project 2017

— 2027

Clinicians’ approaches to the prevention and treatment of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease are beginning to experience a shift from evidence-based medicine to personalized medicine. We now can perform genetic tests in order to determine if a person is susceptible to developing a particular disease as well as what response a person might have to a certain treatment. This rapidly growing field has the potential to greatly increase the chances of successful treatment by tailoring therapy to individual molecular and genetic profiles.

To promote the advancement of personalized medicine, Switzerland has launched the Swiss Personalized Health Network, a national research initiative to establish high-tech infrastructure for personalized medicine and to create stronger ties between hospitals and universities. ETH Zürich, a leading Swiss science and technology university, is participating in the effort to establish and advance the field of personalized health and technology through a new Professorship of Genome Biology within its Department of Biology.

The professorship is funded by NOMIS in cooperation with the Lotte und Adolf Hotz-Sprenger Stiftung. The key objective is to study the functional elements encoded in complex genomes through comparative analysis, seeking to deepen our understanding of how the genetic variation in the human population is related to disease susceptibility. This includes research on the distinctive cellular signatures of diseases (e.g., cancer) and on respective responses to drugs, as well as research on the mutations underlying cancer.

Against this background, the new professorship will develop an independent program in the area of human/mammalian genomics. In addition, it will develop and apply tools and data to pioneer new ways of understanding the genomic basis of quantitative traits, interaction networks and disease.

Jacob Corn was appointed Professor of Genome Biology at ETH Zurich in 2018. Corn is the founding Scientific Director of the Innovative Genomics Institute and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His research aims to bring about the end of genetic disease through the development and application of next-generation genome editing technologies — improving human health through the fundamental understanding of disease mechanisms.


NOMIS Researcher(s)


Project News

According to Professor Jacob Corn, we are standing on the threshold of major medical breakthroughs: thanks to advances in the field of genome editing, it may be possible in future […]

Personalized medicine is changing the way clinicians approach diagnosis and treatment by tailoring therapy to individual molecular and genetic profiles. While the idea of tailored medical treatment is not new, […]


Project Insights

Abstract: Genome editing technologies generate targeted DNA lesions and rely on cellular DNA repair pathways for resolution. Understanding the DNA repair mechanisms responsible for resolving the specific damage caused by gene editing tools can significantly advance their optimization and facilitate their broader application in research and therapeutic contexts. Here we explore
Abstract: The β-hemoglobinopathies, such as sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia, are one of the most common genetic diseases worldwide and are caused by mutations affecting the structure or production of β-globin subunits in adult hemoglobin. Many gene editing efforts to treat the β-he-moglobinopathies attempt to correct β-globin mutations or increase γ-globin
Abstract: Macroautophagy is one of two major degradation systems in eukaryotic cells. Regulation and control of autophagy are often achieved through the presence of short peptide sequences called LC3 interacting regions (LIR) in autophagy-involved proteins. Using a combination of new protein-derived activity-based probes prepared from recombinant LC3 proteins, along with protein

Autophagy is a fundamental pathway for the degradation of cytoplasmic content in response to pleiotropic extracellular and intracellular stimuli. Recent advances in the autophagy field have demonstrated that different organelles […]