Jan Żylicz

Associate Professor of Early Development and Epigenetic Regulation

ORCID: 0000-0001-9622-5658


Research Profile

Jan Żylicz has a background in molecular, stem cell and developmental biology. His undergraduate training consisted of Biochemistry studies at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków (Poland) and at the Utrecht University (The Netherlands). Afterwards, he joined a Wellcome Trust PhD programme in Stem Cell Biology at the University of Cambridge (UK). Under the supervision of Prof. Azim Surani he became fascinated by early mouse development and germline specification. During PhD studies he explored the importance of histone methyltransferases in pre- and post-implantation development. He discovered that specific histone H3 lysine 9 di-methylation helps in rapidly turning enhancers off during implantation. This histone mark can thus be a feedback mechanism to reinforce triggers for transcriptional repression.

His post-doctoral training focused on the dynamic processes mediating facultative heterochromatin formation. Thanks to a prestigious Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship he was able to study chromatin regulatory pathways promoting gene inactivation during X chromosome inactivation. His work in the team of Edith Heard at Institut Curie (Paris, France) revealed an epigenetic roadmap for inactivating one of the two X chromosomes in female cells. Specifically, he uncovered an important role of histone deacetylation by HDAC3 in reinforcing gene silencing. His post-doctoral work strengthened the understanding of how chromatin regulatory pathways shape transcriptional states in stem cells and developing mouse embryos.

The Żylicz laboratory at DanStem is now focused on understanding how metabolic and epigenetic mechanisms cooperate to regulate transcription during early development.

Curriculum Vitae

March 2020: Associate Professor, Group Leader
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Biology, DanStem

July 2015 - March 2020: Post-Doctoral Training
Institut Curie in Paris, France
Advisor: Prof. Edith Heard

October 2011 - October 2015: Doctorate in Stem Cell Biology
Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, UK
Advisor: Prof. Azim Surani

October 2010 - October 2011: Master of Research in Stem Cell Biology
University of Cambridge, UK
Advisor: Prof. Azim Surani

October 2008 - July 2010: Master of Science in Biomolecular Sciences
Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Advisor: Dr. René Ketting

October 2005 - June 2008: Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology
Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland
Advisor: Prof. Jan Potempa

Selected Publications

Dossin, F., Pinheiro, I.#Żylicz, J.J.#, Roensch, J., Le Saux, A., Collombet, S., Chelmicki, T., Kapoor, V., Zhan, Y., Dingli, F., Loew, D., Mercher, T., Dekker, J., and Heard, E.° (2020). SPEN integrates transcriptional and epigenetic control of X-inactivationNature. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-1974-9

Żylicz, J.J.#, Bousard, A.#, Zumer, K., Dossin, F., Mohammad, E., da Rocha, S.T., Schwalb, B., Syx, L., Dingli, F., Loew, D., Cramer, P., and Heard, E.° (2019). The implication of early chromatin changes in X chromosome inactivation. Cell, 176, 182-197. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2018.11.041

Bousard, A.#, Raposo, A.C.#Żylicz, J.J.#, Picard, C., Pires, V.B., Qi, Y., Gil, C., Syx, L., Chang, H.Y., Heard, E. °, and da Rocha, S.T.° (2019). The role of Xist‐mediated Polycomb recruitment in the initiation of X‐chromosome inactivation. EMBO Reports. doi:10.15252/embr.201948019

Żylicz, J.J.#, Borensztein, M.#, Wong, F.C., Huang, Y., Lee, C., Dietmann, S., and Surani, M.A.° (2018). G9a regulates temporal preimplantation developmental program and lineage segregation in blastocystElife. doi:10.7554/eLife.33361

Żylicz, J.J., Dietmann, S., Gunesdogan, U., Hackett, J.A., Cougot, D., Lee, C., and Surani, M.A.° (2015). Chromatin dynamics and the role of G9a in gene regulation and enhancer silencing during early mouse development. Elife, 4. doi:10.7554/eLife.09571

Hackett, J.A., Sengupta, R.#Żylicz, J.J.#, Murakami, K.#, Lee, C., Down, T.A., and Surani, M.A.° (2013). Germline DNA demethylation dynamics and imprint erasure through 5-hydroxymethylcytosineScience, 339, 448-452. doi:10.1126/science.1229277

# equal contributions   ° corresponding authors