Professor Anne Voss

Professor Anne Voss



Professor Anne Voss



BVSc Hannover PD Goettingen PhD Hannover

Division Head

My work focuses on a number of proteins that are critical for embryonic development as well as stem cell development and function. They are subject to genetic mutations, which cause leukaemia, solid tumours and birth defects.

These important proteins affect the manner, in which the genetic material is packaged in the cell nucleus. They have far-reaching consequences for the function of the genome, which is finely tuned during healthy development and adult life, but abnormal in cancer and other diseases.

We are investigating how these proteins function in health and disease.

Research interest

During embryonic development, the unique cellular phenotypes of the adult are established. The diverse cell types are genetically identical, but differ in their form and function due to differences in gene expression. Therefore, gene activity is an important mechanism in embryonic development and adult stem cell differentiation.

Transcriptional activity is regulated by DNA binding transcription factors, but these typically act in more than one cell lineage activating different subsets of target genes in each. Their cell lineage-specific effects are governed by chromatin structure. Thus, we are particularly interested in the function of chromatin modifiers, including the MYST family of histone acetyltransferases. We have shown that MOZ/MYST3 is essential for the development of haematopoietic stem cells and that QKF/MYST4 has a critical role in neural stem cells and in brain development.

We are currently investigating the function of chromatin modifyers during embryonic development, in adult stem cell populations and in cancer.

Three researchers in a corridor

In a world first, Institute scientists and collaborators have discovered a new type of anti-cancer drug that can put cancer cells into a permanent sleep, without the harmful side-effects caused by conventional cancer therapies.

Tim Thomas and Anne Voss in a lab

Our researchers have identified two key proteins that act as genetic ‘architects’, creating the blueprint needed by embryos during the earliest stages of their development.