We investigate how chromatin structure is regulated in vivo. In eukaryotic cells, DNA is packaged into chromatin. This allows compact storage of the genome, but limits the access of DNA binding proteins to their targets. Therefore, chromatin structure strongly influences all processes that rely on protein-DNA interactions, including transcription, DNA replication, repair and recombination, and mis-regulation of chromatin structure can lead to diseases such as cancer. One of the major challenges in studying chromatin regulation is to elucidate how chromatin regulation affects such a wide variety of processes in biological contexts, such as cell cycle control and cell differentiation. We are particularly interested in understanding mechanisms of chromatin regulation within these important biological contexts. We use a diverse set of approaches, including genomics, molecular genetics, cell biology and biochemistry. Graduate students in the lab learn how to perform a wide variety of techniques, including deep sequencing and bioinformatic analyses.
Currently, we mainly focus on the following projects:
1) How do highly conserved ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling factors regulate S phase checkpoint activity and DNA replication in the presence of DNA damage?
2) Repression of long non-coding RNA transcription by ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling factors: How do they do it, and what does it do?
3) Regulating the timing of replication origin activation through chromatin: How does it happen, and how does it affect DNA replication?
4) Regulating quiescent cell state through chromatin: Who play the major roles, and at which stages? How do they do it?