We are focused on trying to understand the roles of chromatin in epigenetic control, cell fate determination and in human disease. We use genomic technologies to understand the chromatin packaging of DNA, how it is modified and altered as cells transition normally during development and abnormally in disease.
CHROMATIN CONTROL OF TRANSPOSABLE ELEMENTS
The majority of DNA elements in the genome is devoted not to genes, but to non-coding elements and particularly to transposable elements and endogenous retroviruses. During early embryonic development these transposable elements are released from repression. Although their many positive aspects are beginning to be appreciated, they nonetheless must be controlled to maintain genomic integrity. We study the control of these transposable elements
CONTROL OF CELL FATE
Each cell contains all of the DNA required to specify all cell types of the body (with a few very small exceptions), yet each cell type is remarkably stable, and rarely, if ever, naturally converts from one cell type to another, except in disease. We explore the genomic and molecular aspects of this tight control of cell type, to understand why cells rarely transdifferentiate, and only differentiate to more restricted cell types during development.