Professor Wolf Reik - Associate Faculty

Wolf's team investigates the way additional information can be added to DNA sequence in the genome through a process called epigenetics. This information, encoded by a range of processes, including chemical modification of DNA bases or alteration of proteins that bind to DNA, can be altered during the life of an organism.

Wolf is interested in the processes of epigenetic reprogramming during early embryo development that allow germline cells to be directed to become adult cells in mammalian animals. As a member of Associate Faculty he is collaborating with Sanger Institute scientists to discover the biology and pathology of epigenetic reprogramming. As part of this research, he is working to develop new sequencing approaches that will capture the range of DNA modifications that are present.

Wolf is based at the neighbouring Babraham Institute where he is Head of the Epigenetics Programme; he is also honorary Professor of Epigenetics at the University of Cambridge. He obtained his MD from the University of Hamburg, and carried out postdoctoral work in Cambridge, before becoming a Fellow of the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine and subsequently Head of Programme at the Babraham Institute.

He and his collaborators discovered epigenetic reprogramming in mammalian development, and are elucidating the mechanisms of demethylation of DNA and the biological significance of reprogramming in normal development, stem cell function, and in disease.

He was awarded the Wellcome Prize in Physiology and is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and a Member of EMBO and the Academia Europaea.

Selected Publications

  • Genome-wide bisulfite sequencing in zygotes identifies demethylation targets and maps the contribution of TET3 oxidation.

    Peat JR, Dean W, Clark SJ, Krueger F, Smallwood SA, Ficz G, Kim JK, Marioni JC, Hore TA and Reik W

    Cell reports 2014;9;6;1990-2000

  • Resetting transcription factor control circuitry toward ground-state pluripotency in human.

    Takashima Y, Guo G, Loos R, Nichols J, Ficz G, Krueger F, Oxley D, Santos F, Clarke J, Mansfield W, Reik W, Bertone P and Smith A

    Cell 2014;158;6;1254-69

  • Single-cell genome-wide bisulfite sequencing for assessing epigenetic heterogeneity.

    Smallwood SA, Lee HJ, Angermueller C, Krueger F, Saadeh H, Peat J, Andrews SR, Stegle O, Reik W and Kelsey G

    Nature methods 2014;11;8;817-20

  • Reprogramming the methylome: erasing memory and creating diversity.

    Lee HJ, Hore TA and Reik W

    Cell stem cell 2014;14;6;710-9

  • FGF signaling inhibition in ESCs drives rapid genome-wide demethylation to the epigenetic ground state of pluripotency.

    Ficz G, Hore TA, Santos F, Lee HJ, Dean W, Arand J, Krueger F, Oxley D, Paul YL, Walter J, Cook SJ, Andrews S, Branco MR and Reik W

    Cell stem cell 2013;13;3;351-9

  • NANOG-dependent function of TET1 and TET2 in establishment of pluripotency.

    Costa Y, Ding J, Theunissen TW, Faiola F, Hore TA, Shliaha PV, Fidalgo M, Saunders A, Lawrence M, Dietmann S, Das S, Levasseur DN, Li Z, Xu M, Reik W, Silva JC and Wang J

    Nature 2013;495;7441;370-4

  • The dynamics of genome-wide DNA methylation reprogramming in mouse primordial germ cells.

    Seisenberger S, Andrews S, Krueger F, Arand J, Walter J, Santos F, Popp C, Thienpont B, Dean W and Reik W

    Molecular cell 2012;48;6;849-62

  • The H19 lincRNA is a developmental reservoir of miR-675 that suppresses growth and Igf1r.

    Keniry A, Oxley D, Monnier P, Kyba M, Dandolo L, Smits G and Reik W

    Nature cell biology 2012;14;7;659-65

  • Quantitative sequencing of 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine at single-base resolution.

    Booth MJ, Branco MR, Ficz G, Oxley D, Krueger F, Reik W and Balasubramanian S

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2012;336;6083;934-7

  • Dynamic regulation of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in mouse ES cells and during differentiation.

    Ficz G, Branco MR, Seisenberger S, Santos F, Krueger F, Hore TA, Marques CJ, Andrews S and Reik W

    Nature 2011;473;7347;398-402

  • 5-Hydroxymethylcytosine in the mammalian zygote is linked with epigenetic reprogramming.

    Wossidlo M, Nakamura T, Lepikhov K, Marques CJ, Zakhartchenko V, Boiani M, Arand J, Nakano T, Reik W and Walter J

    Nature communications 2011;2;241

  • Epigenetic reprogramming in plant and animal development.

    Feng S, Jacobsen SE and Reik W

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2010;330;6004;622-7

  • Genome-wide erasure of DNA methylation in mouse primordial germ cells is affected by AID deficiency.

    Popp C, Dean W, Feng S, Cokus SJ, Andrews S, Pellegrini M, Jacobsen SE and Reik W

    Nature 2010;463;7284;1101-5

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