Thomas Graf is of Austro-German origin and grew up in Caracas. He did his PhD at the Max Planck Institut fuer Virusforschung in Tuebingen; postdoc at Duke University, Durham NC; was an Assistant Professor at the Max Planck Institut in Tuebingen; Associate Professor at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg; Program Coordinator at the EMBL in Heidelberg; Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and presently is co-Coordinator of the Gene Regulation, Stem Cells and Cancer Program at the CRG in Barcelona, where he holds a professorship from ICREA.
In his early work with acute avian leukemia retroviruses he co-discovered several oncogenes, including v-Myc, v-ErbB and v-Myb, and showed that at least two viral oncogenes are required to cause leukemia. He also demonstrated that oncogenes can induce a differentiation block and that this is an important feature of leukemogenesis. More recently he became interested in the mechanisms by which cell fates are established during blood cell differentiation. He was one of the first to show that fully specialized cells remain plastic and can be reprogrammed into alternative lineages using cell type restricted transcription factors. A major effort in his lab is to find out the mechanism by which transcription factors induce transdifferentiation of immune cells.
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