Delia Braun

Research Interest

Investigations of the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) in cancer cells: Unlimited proliferation is one of several crucial hallmarks of cancer cells. In order to ensure immortalization, cancer cells need to avoid apoptosis due to aging. Therefore, the telomere shortening during every cell cycle has to be counteracted by active lengthening of the telomeres. Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences at the ends of linear chromosomes and function as a protective cap to shelter them from degradation and ambiguous DNA-repair mechanisms. In most cancer types telomerase, a reverse transcriptase is activated which progressively extends the telomeres. However in up to 15% of all cancer types a telomerase-independent, so-called alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) pathway has been detected. ALT is characterized by heterogeneous telomere length, accumulation of extrachromosomal repeats (ECTRs), telomeric sister chromatid exchanges (T-SCEs) and colocalizations of promyelocytic leukemia (PML) nuclear bodies and telomeres (ALT-associated PML nuclear bodies (APBs)). A mechanism including DNA repair is assumed, but the actual mechanism still remains indistinct.

In order to investigate whether the formation of APBs is sufficient for the development of an ALT phenotype the effect of artificially induced formation of APBs on telomere length and heterogeneity were analyzed by C-circle assay and our automated screening platform.

Another focus of my PhD thesis was the development of the TelNet database. TelNet is a manually curated database that provides a comprehensive compilation of human and budding yeast genes that are involved in telomere biology.


Scientific Background

  • since 08/2018 Postdoc with Prof. Dr. Karsten Rippe in the Division of Chromatin Networks at the DKFZ and Bioquant center, Heidelberg
  • 09/2012 - 07/2018 PhD in Biosciences on "Inducing and suppressing the alternative lengthening of telomeres mechanism in cancer cells" under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Karsten Rippe in the Division of Chromatin Networks at the DKFZ and Bioquant center, Heidelberg
  • 10/2007 - 05/2012 Diploma in Chemistry on "Surface functionalization of gold nanoparticles with peptoidic transporters." under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Stefan Bräse in the Department of Organic Chemistry at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • 08/2009 Internship on "Material comparisons of cocaine samples by GC / FID" and optimization of a method for use as part of a SOP at the Forensic Institute at the State Criminal Investigation Department Stuttgart


  • 2013 - 2016 Doctoral scholarship of the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes)
  • 2012 - 2015 Fellowship of the Helmholtz International Graduate School for Cancer Research, 2012-2015
  • 2008 - 2012 Scholarship of the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes)

Publications and preprints

  • Braun DM, Chung I, Kepper N, Deeg KI, and Rippe K (2018). TelNet – a database of human and yeast genes involved in telomere maintenance. BMC Genetics 19(32): 1-10. doi: 10.1186/s12863-018-0617-8.

  • Sieverling L, Chen Hong, Koser SD, Ginsbach P, Kleinheinz K, Hutter B, Braun DM, Cortes-Ciriano I, Xi R, Kabbe R, Park PJ, Eils R, Schlesner M, Rippe K, Jones DTW, Brors B, and Feuerbach L (2017). Genomic footprints of activated telomere maintenance mechanisms in cancer. Nature communications, in press. Preprint: bioRxiv 157560. doi: 10.1101/157560.
  • Deeg KI, Chung I, Poos AM, Braun DM, Korshunov A, Oswald M, Kepper, N, Bender S, Castel D, Lichter P, Grill J, Pfister SM, König R, Jones DT, and Rippe K (2018). Dissecting telomere maintenance mechanisms in pediatric glioblastoma. Preprint: bioRxiv 129106. doi: 10.1101/129106.
  • Kölmel DK, Rudat B, Braun DM, Bednarek C, Schepers U, and Bräse S (2013). Rhodamine F: a novel class of fluorous ponytailed dyes for bioconjugation. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry 11(24): 3954-3962. doi: 10.1039/C3OB40267C.


Dr. Delia Braun

DKFZ & Bioquant Center

Division Chromatin Networks

Im Neuenheimer Feld 267

69120 Heidelberg


Bioquant room 622a

Tel.: +49-6221-54-51373

Fax: +49 6221 54 51487

e-mail: d.braun(at)