Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Peter Rugg-Gunn

Research Summary

Stem cells are unspecialised, self-renewing cells that can be grown in the laboratory and when given the appropriate cue – by changing their signalling environment with growth factors and cytokines, for example – specialise into any cell type of the adult body.

This remarkable property has generated a great deal of interest in stem cells for the study of human development, their potential use in patient-specific cell-replacement therapies, and other applications, including disease modelling, drug screening and toxicology assays.

During stem cell specialisation the pattern of epigenetic modifications and organisation of the genome become rapidly altered and this is accompanied by changes in gene activity and cell state. How this process is controlled remains understood poorly but it is important to study because it will provide insight in to how distinct cell types are formed and maintained.

Our research group investigates how epigenetic processes are involved in regulating stem cells and the early stages of mammalian development. Specifically, we study interactions between epigenetic processes and other key molecular components, such as signalling pathways and transcription factors, in order to understand how these multiple events are coordinated.

This research will provide crucial insight into how distinct cell types are formed in the embryo and will uncover new and safer ways to use stem cells for regenerative medicine and other biomedical applications. Our findings may also have broad impact on understanding environmental influences on the epigenome, which has major implications for diet and other external factors during pregnancy.

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Latest Publications

Derivation and Culture of Epiblast Stem Cell (EpiSC) Lines.

Rugg-Gunn P

Cold Spring Harbor protocols
2017 1559-6095:pdb.prot093971 (2017)

PMID: 28049783

Derivation and Culture of Extra-Embryonic Endoderm Stem Cell Lines.

Rugg-Gunn P

Cold Spring Harbor protocols
2017 1559-6095:pdb.prot093963 (2017)

PMID: 28049782

Crosstalk between pluripotency factors and higher-order chromatin organization.

Lopes Novo C, Rugg-Gunn PJ

Nucleus (Austin, Tex.)
1949-1042:0 (2016)

PMID: 27759487

Comparative Principles of DNA Methylation Reprogramming during Human and Mouse In Vitro Primordial Germ Cell Specification.

von Meyenn F, Berrens RV, Andrews S

Developmental cell
39 1878-1551:104-115 (2016)

PMID: 27728778

Chromatin organization in pluripotent cells: emerging approaches to study and disrupt function.

Lopes Novo C, Rugg-Gunn PJ

Briefings in functional genomics
2041-2657: (2015)

PMID: 26206085

Epigenetic features of the mouse trophoblast.

PJ Rugg-Gunn

Reproductive biomedicine online
25 1:21-30 (2012)

DOI: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2012.01.012

PMID: 22578826

Cell-surface proteomics identifies lineage-specific markers of embryo-derived stem cells.

PJ Rugg-Gunn, BJ Cox, F Lanner

Developmental cell
22 4:887-901 (2012)

DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2012.01.005

PMID: 22424930