Cell Biology of Genome Maintenance

Chromosome translocations play key roles in the initiation of tumorigenesis, yet how translocations form is only poorly understood. The goal of our research is to identify cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the formation of oncogenic chromosome translocations. To achieve this we employ molecular and cell biological approaches (incl. CRISPR/Cas9 technology), in combination with genetics and advanced microscopy techniques.

Using novel imaging methodologies we have developed, we are modelling and quantifying the formation of recurrent, cancer-initiating chromosome translocations in living cells in real time. This will allow us to perform targeted and unbiased screens to identify novel factors that suppress or promote translocations in cancer.

Research website 

Positions held

Since 2015: Group Leader, Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Mainz
2013-2014: Research Fellow, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA
2008-2013: Postdoc, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA


2008: PhD in Molecular Biology and Cytogenetics, Medical School, University of Patras
2005: MSc in Applications in Medical Sciences, Medical School, University of Patras
2002: Diploma in Biology, University of Patras

Selected publications by Vassilis Roukos

Musheev MU#, Baumgärtner A, Krebs L and Niehrs C#  (2020) The origin of genomic N6-methyl-deoxyadenosine in mammalian cellsNat Chem Biol, 16:630–634 (#indicates joint correspondence) Link

Gothe HJ, Bouwman BAM, Gusmao EG, Piccinno R, Petrosino G, Sayols S, Drechsel O, Minneker V, Josipovic N, Mizi A, Nielsen CF, Wagner EM, Takeda S, Sasanuma H, Hudson DF, Kindler T, Baranello L, Papantonis A, Crosetto N and Roukos V (2019) Spatial chromosome folding and active transcription drive DNA fragility and formation of oncogenic MLL translocationsMol Cell, 75:267-283.e12 Link

Piccinno R, Minneker V and Roukos V (2019) 53BP1—DNA repair enters a new liquid phaseEMBO J, 38:e102871 Link

Roukos V (2018) Actin proteins assemble to protect the genomeNature, 559:35–37 Link

Roukos V and Mathas S (2015) The origins of ALK translocationsFront Biosci, 7:260–268 Link