Manel Esteller (Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, Catalonia, 1968) graduated in Medicine from the University of Barcelona in 1992, where he also obtained his doctorate, specialising in the molecular genetics of endometrial carcinoma, in 1996. He was an invited researcher at the School of Biological and Medical Sciences at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, during which time his research interests focused on the molecular genetics of inherited breast cancer.
Esteller works on the field of epigenetics in health and disease. Starting from identical genetic sequences, changes in histone modifications and DNA methylation can produce organisms with different features and distinct susceptibility to sickness. An example is monozygotic twins. To have a complete picture of what is going on with the epigenetic tapestry of our cells, Esteller has advocated the development of a comprehensive Human Epigenome Project (HEP) to map all the epigenetic marks in our genetic material. This could have a huge impact in cancer patients, because we already know that malignant cells have a profound disregulation of DNA methylation and histone modification patterns. The good news is that the first pharmacological compounds to "restore" the normal epigenetic landscapes are starting to emerge.
Manel Esteller is the Director of the Cancer Epigenetics and Biology Program (PEBC) of the Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research (IDIBELL), Leader of the Cancer Epigenetics Group, Professor of Genetics in the School of Medicine of the University of Barcelona, and Research Professor at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA).