I completed my BSc at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and my MSc at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, before moving to the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

I completed my PhD in Oxford at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. Afterwards, I worked as a Junior Research Fellow for two years in the same institute, before moving to Germany to set up my group “Genome Organization and Regulation” at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen.

Education and positions held

  • 2020-current:
    • Lise Meitner Group Leader, Genome Organization and Regulation, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany
  • 2018-2020:
    • Junior Research Fellow, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 2014-2018:
    • Predoctoral fellow, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Research Summary

Precise patterns of gene expression in metazoans are controlled by the cis-regulatory elements of the genome, which include enhancers and promoters. The spatial organization of the genome in the nucleus is important for accurate communication between these elements. Enhancers and promoters interact in 3D chromatin structures, which allow for specific communication between elements that are separated by large genomic distances. These enhancer-promoter interactions are important to establish accurate gene expression patterns during differentiation and development.

The aim of our research is to understand how 3D chromatin structures are formed and how the cis-regulatory elements function within this context to control gene expression. To this end, we develop high-resolution Chromosome Conformation Capture (3C) techniques, which we use in combination with other genomic techniques, genetic perturbations, and computational approaches.

We focus on the interplay between genome organization and regulation during mammalian differentiation, and how perturbations in these processes contribute to human disease, including cancer.

Key publications

  • Oudelaar AM, Higgs DR (2020) The relationship between genome structure and function. Nature Reviews Genetics 22: 154–168.
  • Oudelaar AM, Beagrie RA, Gosden M, de Ornellas S, Georgiades E, Kerry J, Hidalgo D, Carrelha J, Shivalingam A, El-Sagheer AH et al (2020)
  • Dynamics of the 4D genome during in vivo lineage specification and differentiation. Nature Communications 11: 2722.
  • Oudelaar AM, Harrold CL, Hanssen LL, Telenius JM, Higgs DR, Hughes JR (2019) A revised model for promoter competition based on multi-way chromatin interactions at the α-globin locus. Nature Communications 10: 1-8.
  • Oudelaar AM, Davies JOJ, Hanssen LLP, Telenius JM, Schwessinger R, Liu Y, Brown JM, Downes DJ, Chiariello AM, Bianco S et al (2018) Single-allele chromatin interactions identify regulatory hubs in dynamic compartmentalized domains. Nature Genetics 50: 1744-1751.
  • Oudelaar AM, Davies JOJ, Downes DJ, Higgs DR, Hughes JR (2017) Robust detection of chromosomal interactions from small numbers of cells using low-input Capture-C. Nucleic Acids Research doi:10.1093/nar/gkx1194.