Get to know the AMPro Scientists!

Biweekly, we present you one AMPro scientist in more detail. This time...

Pavlo Lutsik

Pavlo's scientific work in one sentence

We are developing and implement novel computational methods for the analysis of cancer epigenomes, aiming to identify cells-of-origin in several tumor entities, elucidate epigenetic mechanisms of tumorigenesis, as well as discover promising diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.

For more information click here.

Short CV

Highest Level of education: Ph.D., Saarland University, 2017
Current Position: Leader of Computational Cancer Epigenomics group, Division of Cancer Epigenomics, DKFZ

What is - in your opinion - your best publication?

The most recent highlight:

Scherer M., Nazarov P., Toth R., Sahay S., Kaoma T., Maurer V., Plass C., Lengauer T, Walter J., Lutsik P. Reference-free deconvolution, visualization and interpretation of complex DNA methylation data using DecompPipeline, MeDeCom and FactorViz. Nature Protocols (in press)

What is your most important prize and membership?

Prize: DKFZ Postdoctoral Fellowship 2016

Membership: International Society for Computational Biology

5 questions about research - past, present, future

1. What are your primary tasks and responsibilities in your actual position?
My primary responsibility is supervising a team of young, talented and aspiring computational biologists, doing my best to motivate and inspire them for excellent scientific work. Furthermore, I am leading a large project on an oncohistone-driven tumor entity, giant cell tumor of bone, and support numerous division-internal and external collaborations.

2. What is it that gives you pleasure and/or satisfaction the most?
Seeing how people working with me make astounding progress, many starting with zero computational experience, and developing themselves into experienced professionals, fully able to perform state-of-the-art bioinformatic analyses and make novel biological findings, is always a true inspiration.

3. Which research question(s) affects you at the moment? What is its social significance?
One of my major research interests are tumors driven my mutated histones. Oncogenic histone mutations occur in a whole spectrum of entities, from relatively benign ones, such as giant cell tumor of bone, to very aggressive and lethal tumors, such as certain glioma subtypes. In the same time all such cancer types share a lot with respect to their underlying molecular mechanisms. Since in many cases these tumor types affect children and adolescents, it is highly important to make further progress in understanding and managing them, saving more young lives and improving the long-term outcomes.

4. Which publication influenced you the most?
It is hard to name one, as many papers by the leaders in epigenomics and DNA methylation research, such as Wolf Reik, Dirk Schübeler, Amos Tanay, have been very inspiring and impactful for my career. However, Andy Houseman’s paper on reference-based methylome deconvolution (Houseman et al. DNA methylation arrays as surrogate measures of cell mixture distribution, BMC Bioinformatics, 2012 – ca. 1700 citations by now) scooping my own manuscript in the early years of my Ph.D. was a real boost.

5. What do you like most about AMPro? What are your particular plans within the collaboration?
AMPro community is an extremely welcoming and mostly informal environment, enabling the scientific osmosis both, with colleagues working side-by-side in your own institutions and excellent scientists from other Helmholtz centers. I hope to employ my amazing AMPro contacts for the benefit of my project on epigenetics of osteo- and adipogenesis in the context of aging, and maintain these fruitful collaborations in the future.

5 questions beyond research

1. What is the experience during your PhD you will remember all your life?
First international workshop presentation (IHEC Annual Meeting, Barcelona, 2012), the enormous stress before and the feeling of great relief thereafter.

2. Which book and/or movie has lately affected you the most?
The Chernobyl mini-series by HBO, an honest outsider’s look upon the national tragedy in my home country, stressing the importance of defending the scientific truth and keeping civilian courage.

3. What are your hobbies?
European history and politics.