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Fran Supek

Fran Supek

Institut de Recerca Biomèdica

Life & Medical Sciences

Fran Supek is an ICREA professor based at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), a part of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology. Fran leads the Genome Data Science laboratory (, which specializes in large-scale statistical analyses of genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic data. Fran obtained his PhD in Molecular biology in 2010 from the University of Zagreb, while working as an early-stage researcher at the RBI (Croatia). Following a postdoctoral stay at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (as a Marie Curie fellow), in 2017 he started his group at the IRB as a Ramón y Cajal fellow. Fran is the PI of the ERC StG "HYPER-INSIGHT", a work-package leader on a H2020 project "DECIDER", and an EMBO Young Investigator. Fran authored 48 research papers: 13 as first and 17 as senior/corresponding author (13/17 in top-10% journals), and additionally 3 invited review articles and 2 book chapters, cited 8030 times (H-index=27).

Research interests

My interests focus on computational approaches for elucidating mutational processes that generate genetic diversity within populations and across species, with the goal of understanding mechanisms of mutagenesis and DNA repair. I am also interested in developing statistical frameworks for detecting genomic signatures of negative or positive selection, which are often challenging to distinguish from the background DNA sequence variability that results from accumulated mutations. Such novel methodologies provide opportunities to gain insight into evolution of genomes, by revealing details of the interplay between mutation and selection. The biological questions I addressed include learning about evolution of gene function and regulation, in particular related to mechanisms underlying stress resistance and disease. In addition, I am interested in distributions of genetic variants in the human germline and soma, which can reveal how DNA repair is organized along eukaryotic chromosomes.

Selected publications

Supek F*, Lehner B & Lindeboom RGH. 2021, ‘To NMD or Not To NMD: Nonsense-Mediated mRNA Decay in Cancer and Other Genetic Diseases.’ Trends in Genetics, 37, 7, 657 – 668. (*corresponding author)

– Biayna J, Garcia-Cao I, Alvarez MM, Salvadores M, Espinosa-Carrasco J, McCullough M, Supek F*, Stracker TH* 2021, ‘Loss of the abasic site sensor HMCES is synthetic lethal with the activity of the APOBEC3A cytosine deaminase in cancer cells‘, PLOS Biology, 19, 3, e3001176.  (*shared corresponding authors)

– Park S*, Supek F* & Lehner B* 2021. ‘Higher order genetic interactions switch cancer genes from two-hit to one-hit drivers‘, Nature Communications, 12:7051 (* shared corresponding authors)

Selected research activities

Invited talks to:
[i] EBML Cancer Genomics 2021 (virtual meeting)
[ii] Cancer Genomics Online 2021 (Frontline Genomics series)
[iii] BelBi Belgrade Bioinformatics conference 2021 (Belgrade, Serbia)
[iv] Presentation at the EMBO YIP Annual Meeting 2021 online.

ICREA Memoir 2021