Biotechnology research group

Our current research focus is the role of DNA copy-number changes in female reproductive ageing and infertility, chromosomal instability in human, and bovine as a model, early embryos. In addition development and implementation of new methods for transcriptomics, genome editing and epigenetic profiling of small number of cells to enable functional studies from well-defined cell populations including embryonic- and stem-cells. 
We are collaborating with the Center of Genomics, Evolution and Medicine (cGEM) to implement functional genomics assays to study how DNA polymorphisms contribute to phenotypic variation. As a model system we have set up a workflow to create induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). This will allow to create person specific cell-lines that self renew, are pluripotent and can thus be used to model different tissues or diseases. In parallel, we are developing high throughput assays such as massively parallel reporter assay (MPRA) that allows us to assess the gene regulatory activity of thousands of genomic regions in parallel.  

Image used in header: mouse embryos (author: Baris Yasar, PhD student)

  1. Essers, Rick & Lebedev, Igor & Kurg, Ants & Fonova, Elizaveta & Stevens, Servi & Koeck, Rebekka & Rango, Ulrike & Brandts, Lloyd & Deligiannis, Spyridon-Panagiotis & Nikitina, Tatiana & Sazhenova, E. & Tolmacheva, Ekaterina & Kashevarova, Anna & Fedotov, Dmitry & Demeneva, Viktoria & Zhigalina, Daria & Drozdov, Gleb & Al-Nasiry, Salwan & Macville, Merryn & Zamani Esteki, Masoud. (2023). Prevalence of chromosomal alterations in first-trimester spontaneous pregnancy loss. Nature Medicine. 29. DOI:10.1038/s41591-023-02645-5

  2. Krigul KL, Aasmets O, Lüll K, Org T, Org E. Using fecal immunochemical tubes for the analysis of the gut microbiome has the potential to improve colorectal cancer screening. Sci Rep. 2021 Oct 1;11(1):19603. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-99046-w

  3. Rooda I, Hensen K, Kaselt B, Kasvandik S, Pook M, Kurg A, Salumets A, Velthut-Meikas A. Target prediction and validation of microRNAs expressed from FSHR and aromatase genes in human ovarian granulosa cells. Sci Rep. 2020 Feb 10; 10(1):2300. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-59186-x

  4. Hensen K, Pook M, Sikut A, Org T, Maimets T, Salumets A, Kurg A. Utilising FGF2, IGF2 and FSH in serum-free protocol for long-term in vitro cultivation of primary human granulosa cells. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2020 Apr 12:110816. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2020.110816

  5. Zamani Esteki M, Viltrop T, Tšuiko O, Tiirats A, Koel M, Nõukas M, Žilina O, Teearu K, Marjonen H, Kahila H, Meekels J, Söderström-Anttila V, Suikkari AM, Tiitinen A, Mägi R, Kõks S, Kaminen-Ahola N, Kurg A, Voet T, Vermeesch JR, Salumets A. In vitro fertilization does not increase the incidence of de novo copy number alterations in fetal and placental lineages. Nat Med. 2019 Nov 4. doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0620-2

  6. Org T, Hensen K, Kreevan R, Mark E, Sarv O, Andreson R, Jaakma Ü, Salumets A, Kurg A. Genome-wide histone modification profiling of inner cell mass and trophectoderm of bovine blastocysts by RAT-ChIP. PLoS One. 2019 Nov 25;14(11):e0225801. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225801


Rändav bioklass (täiendamisel)