Spatial organisation of the genome

Spatial organisation of the genome

Each cell in the human body must compact two metres of DNA into a nucleus of about ten micrometres, the equivalent of fitting the Eiffel Tower inside a one cent coin. Somehow this is achieved in a way so that the required genes for each cell are accessible to the machinery for their activation. Our team combines genomics approaches (Hi-C and its variants), CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing and microscopy at high temporal resolution to dissect the organization of the genome in space and time, and to see how this is responsible for control of gene expression.
Twitter: @TomSexton_lab




Occasionnal collaborators

Current projects

We are interested in all aspects of how 3D or 4D genome organization affects gene expression, but our current research can be split into two major axes:

  1. Genome-wide molecular biology approaches (e.g. Capture Hi-C) to characterize epigenomic changes accompanying developmental transitions and responses to chemotherapeutic drugs.
  2. Tagging specific genomic loci and tracking them in real time to see how chromatin mobility affects (and is affected by) transcription and DNA repair responses.

Our first attempt at modelling the stem cell nucleus.

Collaborations and networks


  • Nacho Molina
  • Daniel Metzger

In Strasbourg

  • Karine Merienne (Laboratory of Cognitive and Adaptive Neurosciences)
  • Jean-Noel Freund/Claire Domon-Dell (Interface of Fundamental and Applied Research in Cancerology)

In France

  • Kerstin Bystricky (Centre of Integrative Biology, Toulouse)
  • Christophe Ginestier/Emmanuelle Charafe-Jauffret (Cancer Research Centre, Marseille)
  • Mounia Lagha (Institute of Molecular Genetics, Montpellier)
  • Reini Luco (Institut Curie, Paris)
  • Salvatore Spicuglia (Theories and Approaches of Genomic Complexity, Marseille)
  • Jean-Christophe Andrau (Institute of Molecular Genetics, Montpellier)
  • Daniel Jost (Ecole Normale Superieur, Lyon)


  • Jennifer Mitchell (University of Toronto, Canada)
  • Tineke Lenstra (National Cancer Institute, Netherlands)
  • Akis Papantonis (University of Goettingen, Germany)
  • Evi Soutoglou (Genome Damage and Stability Centre, UK)

Funding and partners

ERC Starting Grant 2015-2021

ATIP-Avenir 2014-2017


Awards and recognitions

Claude Paoletti Prize, 2015


Check out our Github tools :


Functional genomics and cancer - Cancer research