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EpiCrossBorders: An International Research School Flagship Towards “One Health”


EpiCrossBorders, a new international research school for epigenetics across borders, will connect the research excellence of Helmholtz Zentrum München and the University of Edinburgh to establish new research topics and train future leaders in epigenetics. EpiCrossBorders will be funded by Helmholtz Zentrum München, the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association and the partners from Edinburgh over a period of six years.

Following “One Health”, the approach of the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen research collaboration between different topics to improve public health, EpiCrossBorders will be founded on two international pillars: epigenetics@HMGU with its Helmholtz Zentrum München research school on epigenetics launched in 2018 and the Edinburgh bioscience programs* hosted at the University of Edinburgh (Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology, MRC Human Genetics Unit and Centre for Regenerative Medicine).

A new generation of scientists to tackle tomorrow’s health challenges

EpiCrossBorders will recruit and train early-career talents – up to 50 graduate students over six years – to investigate epigenetic mechanisms in an innovative, quantitative and multidisciplinary manner. The research school will study the impact of the environment and climate change on epigenomes to uncover epigenetics mechanisms enabling adaptation and response to changing environments. The school will address future societal challenges in the areas of artificial intelligence in biomedicine.

“EpiCrossBorders will lay the foundation for novel scientific discoveries. Epigenetics impacts our understanding of health, disease and environment, and subsequently our ability to intervene where needed,” says Robert Schneider, Director of the Institute of Functional Epigenetics at Helmholtz Zentrum München.

“With this new cross-center collaboration, we will train future experts and tackle societal challenges at an international level. Mobility and innovative exchange measures between the partners in Munich and Edinburgh will foster the students’ curiosity and creativity,” says Astrid Lunkes, Director of Scientific Portfolio Management and Strategy for Epigenetics and Stem Cells at Helmholtz Zentrum München.

EpiCrossBorders to start in 2020

Applications for EpiCrossBorders are planned to open in the second half of 2020. For further information, please visit: <link epigeneticshmgu/index.html - extern></link>


*Integrative Cell Mechanisms, Biomedical Artificial Intelligence, Human Genetics, Genomics and Disease, Regenerative Medicine

About epigenetics

Epigenetics is the study of heritable phenotype changes that do not involve alterations in the genetic information, or genotype. The objective is to obtain a better understanding of epigenetics and its role in the development of diseases.