Wolf Reik

Wolf Reik

Wolf Reik
Residence UK
Nationality German
Fields epigenetics
Institutions Babraham Institute, University of Cambridge, Sanger Institute

Wolf Reik FRS[1] is a molecular biologist, senior group leader and associate director at the Babraham Institute, professor of Epigenetics at the University of Cambridge and associate faculty at the Sanger Institute. Wolf Reik studies how additional information can be added to the genome through a range of processes collectively called epigenetics. He discovered some of the key epigenetic mechanisms important for mammalian development, physiology, genome reprogramming, and human diseases. His early work led to the discovery that the molecular mechanism of genomic imprinting is based on DNA methylation.[2] He uncovered non-coding RNA[3] and chromatin looping[4] regulating imprinted genes, which he showed to be involved in fetal nutrition, growth, and disease.[5] He discovered epigenetic reprogramming, including active demethylation, and showed that it was faulty in reproductive cloning and affects pluripotency of embryonic stem cells.[6] He found that the environment influences epigenetic programming in embryos, with changes in gene expression persisting in adults and their offspring.

Awards and recognition

Wolf Reik has received many awards, including:


  1. "Wolf Reik's page at Royal Society". Royalsociety.org. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
  2. Reik W, Collick A, Norris ML, Barton SC, Surani MA (1987) Genomic imprinting determines methylation of parental alleles in transgenic mice. Nature 328, 248-251
  3. Smits G, Mungall AJ, Griffiths-Jones S, Smith P, Beury D, Matthews L, Rogers J, Pask AJ, Shaw G, VandeBerg JL, McCarrey JR, Renfree MB, Reik W, DunhamI (2008) Conservation of the H19 noncoding RNA and H19-IGF2 imprinting mechanism in therians. Nature Genetics 40, 971-976
  4. Murrell A, Heeson S, Reik W (2004) Interaction between differentially methylated regions partitions the imprinted genes Igf2 and H19 into parent-specific chromatin loops. Nature genetics 36, 889-893
  5. Constância M, Hemberger M, Hughes J, Dean W, Ferguson-Smith A, Fundele R, Stewart F, Kelsey G, Fowden A, Sibley C, Reik W (2002) Placental-specific IGF-II is a major modulator of placental and fetal growth. Nature 417, 945-948
  6. Reik W, Dean W, Walter J (2001) Epigenetic reprogramming in mammalian development. Science 293, 1089-1093
  7. "Wolf Reik's page at Academia Europeae". Ae-info.org. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
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