3D Chromatin Structure
We study how DNA loops regulate gene transcription and human development.Read More
We are developing and applying new techniques manipulate non-coding regulatory DNA and 3D chromatin structure.Read More
We are interested in the complex network of molecular events that drive lineage specification and the maintenance of cellular identity.Read More
We are developing novel software to analyze and visualize data from genomic and proteomic data sets.Read More
It is estimated that only 2% of the human genome codes for functional proteins. Scattered throughout the rest of the genome are regulatory regions that can exert control over genes hundreds of thousands of base pairs away through the formation of DNA loops. These promoter-distal regulatory regions play critical roles in establishing proper transcriptional profiles during human development and harbor the vast majority of disease-related variants. Over the past decade, rapid improvements in DNA sequencing technology and computing power have produced breakthroughs in our knowledge regarding the components governing loop establishment in cells grown in steady state. However, despite these advances and the known importance of loops in transcriptional control during development, we very little about the molecules and mechanisms that govern cell-type specific loop formation during dynamic biological processes such as cellular differentiation. This knowledge gap stems from: (1) lack of high-resolution time-course data characterizing DNA loops during differentiation, (2) a dearth of software for differential loop analysis, interpretation, and visualization, and (3) limitations in current genome editing methods. The long-term goal of our research is to develop and apply new tools to uncover the mechanisms and functions of dynamic DNA looping during cellular differentiation of human cells.