Mariusz Nowacki received his PhD from University of Paris VI and Ecole Normale Supérieure in 2005. He did a post-doc at Princeton University from 2005 and since 2010 he works as professor of RNA Biology and Epigenetics at University of Bern.
His research focuses on the mechanisms of RNA-mediated epigenetic inheritance in eukaryotic cells. Using ciliated protozoa as model organisms his lab investigates the very complex epigenetic phenomena accompanying the whole-genome scale developmental DNA rearrangements, where the parental cell must provide sufficient amount of information in order to produce a fully functional progeny. This involves a RNA-mediated comparison of the developing zygotic genome with the maternal somatic genome in an extraordinarily massive and precise manner. In ciliates, maternal RNAs form the heart of an epigenetic system that has evolved from core eukaryotic gene silencing components to selectively target DNA for deletion, and in some cases, provide both an organizing guide for DNA rearrangements and a template that can transport somatic mutations to the next generation. Furthermore, the mechanisms of RNA-mediated epigenetic inheritance can function across multiple generations, and Mariusz Nowacki’s work has revealed new biological roles for RNA and has hinted at the power of RNA molecules to sculpt genomic information in cells.