Examplepictures of DNA-Structures

Anna Poetsch - Biomedical Genomics

Understanding the link between genetics and the development of cancer has long been a focus of cancer research. With newest sequencing techniques, it is now possible to assess the genetic and epigenetic status as well as genome instability of individual patient’s and their individual cells at a massive scale. This can pave the way for personalized cancer therapy and may allow strategies to reduce treatment side effects on healthy cells. In individual patients, the distribution of DNA damage and mutations across the genome is highly heterogeneous. To date the mechanisms leading to individual patterns of DNA damage and somatic mutations are poorly explored. Therefore, this information is rarely used for clinical treatment decisions.

Homepage of Mildred-Scheel-Nachwuchszentrum (MSNZ):


Curriculum Vitae


  • 2008 - 2012       PhD in Cancer Biology, German Cancer Research Center / Heidelberg University
  • 2005 - 2008       Master of Science in Life Science, University of Konstanz, Germany with distinction
  • 2002 - 2005       Bachelor of Science in Life Science, University of Konstanz, Germany

Academic Career

  • Since 07/2020   Mildred-Scheel-Nachwuchszentrum (MSNZ)  research group leader affiliated with
                                BIOTEC, TU Dresden
  • 2018 - 06/2020 Independent scientist at St. Anna Childhood Cancer Research Institute, Vienna,
  • 2015 - 2018       Visting scientist at the Francis Crick Institute, London, United Kingdom
  • 2013 - 2018       Postdoctoral research fellow at the Cancer Research UK/ The Francis Crick
                                Institute/ University College   London, United Kingdom with Prof. Nicholas
                                Luscombe in Computational Biology in collaboration with
                                Prof. Simon Boulton as a fellow of the Peter and Traudl Engelhorn Foundation    
  • 2008 - 2012       Research fellow of the Helmholtz International Graduate School for Cancer
                                Researchat the German Cancer Research Center with Prof. Christoph Plass on
                                DNA methylation in leukemias
  • 2002 - 2007       Research fellow at the University Konstanz at the Japanese National Cancer
                                Center Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan: with Prof. Mitsuko Masutani and Prof.
                                Alexander Bürkle

Honors / Awards

  • 2014 - 2016       Fellow of the Peter and Traudl Engelhorn Foundation, The Francis Crick Institute,
                                London, UK, University College London, UK, and Okinawa Institute of Science and
                                Technology, Okinawa Japan
  • 2008 - 2011       Fellow of the Helmholtz International Graduate School for Cancer Research,
                                German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany


The Poetsch group employs computational techniques and machine learning approaches to assess and model DNA damage and repair processes, mutagenesis and genome editing to develop clinical applications. The group established a novel technique for genome-wide measurements of oxidative DNA damage and contributed to the understanding of genome editing precision. Work is underway to understand this in the context of different cancer types and as a consequence to different treatment regimens tissue specifically.

Research Aims

Tissue-specific genome distribution of radiation induced oxidative DNA damage

Understand how mutagenesis mechanisms shape somatic mutation landscapes in cancer

Determinants and predictability of genome editing precision

selected Publications

Poetsch AR. The genomics of oxidative DNA damage, repair, and resulting mutagenesis. CSBJ. (2020) Jan 7;18:207-219.

Chakrabarti AM, Henser-Brownhill T, Monserrat J, Poetsch AR*, Luscombe NM, Scaffidi P*. Target-specific predictability of CRISPR-mediated genome editing. Molecular Cell. (2019) Feb. 21; 73:1–15. * Corresponding author

Poetsch AR*, Boulton SJ, Luscombe NM. Genomic landscape of oxidative DNA damage and repair reveals regioselective protection from mutagenesis. Genome Biology. (2018) Dec. 7; 19:215. doi: 10.1186/s13059-018-1582-2. * Corresponding author

Blake SM, Stricker SH, Halavach H, Poetsch AR, Cresswell G, Kelly G, Kanu N, Marino S, Luscombe NM, Pollard SM, Behrens A. Inactivation of the ATMIN/ATM pathway protects against glioblastoma formation. Elife. (2016) Mar 17;5. pii: e08711. doi: 10.7554/eLife.08711.


For complete publication record see ORCID


Open Positions

We are participating in the DIGS-BB PhD selection in September 2020. If you are interested in joining our group as a Phd-student, please apply until 25.05.2020 and visit our DIGS-BB profile.

We are on the lookout for new computational team members. If you are interested, please get in touch

  • One position will be for the more data driven side of our research, for someone with excellent programming skills, a keen interest in applying machine learning to genomic questions, and some background in molecular biology.

  • The other position will be for someone with a solid background in molecular biology, functional genomics and gene regulation, with a keen interest in computational biology, and some programming skills in R/Bioconductor."



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