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

Bouwman BAM, Agostini F, Garnerone S, Petrosino G, Gothe HJ, Sayols S, Moor AE, Itzkovitz S, Bienko M, Roukos V and Crosetto N (2020) Genome-wide detection of DNA double-strand breaks by in-suspension BLISSNat Protoc, 15:3894–3941 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