Dr Reinhard Stöger
Reinhard Stöger studied biology and genetics at the University of Vienna, Austria. He worked with Denise Barlow to discover and describe the first gene carrying a genomic imprint. His work at King's College, London led to the identification of a new subfamily of chromodomain helicases.
Stöger carried out research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, and was one of the first to describe epigenetic variation in humans. Together with Charles Laird he designed and established 'hairpin bisulfite PCR', a method to accurately measure heritability of DNA methylation patterns. Stöger and colleagues were the first to develop and apply 'batchstamps' and 'barcodes' - unique molecular identifiers of nucleic acid molecules.
Stöger's theoretical work predicts canalisation and epigenetic regulation of large metabolic gene-networks in response to environmental signals. The 'thrifty epigenotype' hypothesis provides an explanation for the difficulty of identifying allelic variations associated with complex disease and predicts epigenetic inheritance of metabolic disorders.
Teaching in modules that cover the following topics: epigenetics, developmental biology, respiration, cell signalling, cell cycle, growth factors, endocrinology, evolutionary adaptations.
Year 3: supervision of BSc research projects directly informed by past and present research carried out Dr Stöger.
Reinhard Stöger investigates the epigenetic basis and heritability of acquired traits in humans and animals. His current research focuses on:
- Epigenetic clocks: assembled from epigenomic and metabolomic data to measure and understand the differences between chronological and biological age in health and disease
- Molecular and epigenetic approaches to understand and manipulate growth of animals, including insects with attention to nucleic acid modifications
Research concentrates on identification and characterisation of genomic loci that are responsive to environmental stressors and stimuli such as under/overnutrition, synthetic compounds and hormones. Do the epigenetic marks change? How persistent are this epigenetic changes?
- Stressful environments in early life and their effects on health and reproductive function in adults and offspring using gene-specific and integrative omics approaches. This is a collaborative research project with colleagues Gillian Bentley (Durham University / UK) and Philippa Melamed (Technion / Israel), funded by the BBSRC and ESRC.
Research is also underway to explore DNA metabolism of the mitochondrial genome in response to developmental and environmental stimuli.