The interest of our laboratory is to understand how the information encoded in the DNA is accurately used by cells to perform the physiological functions that are required for each organism during the different phases of their life cycles. The access to this information is tightly regulated by an intricate system of different regulatory layers involving, for example, the recognition of specific sequences in the DNA by transcription factors, the positioning of nucleosomes and associated histone marks at key locations in the DNA, or the higher-order accessibility and three-dimensional positioning of the chromatin in the nucleus, among others. These determine, for instance, which genes need to be turned on or off at different developmental times, and in response to infectious agents or changes in the environment. The disruption or break down of these regulatory mechanisms are responsible of many developmental disorders and diseases such as cancer. We aim to uncover the functioning of some of these mechanisms, which, in turn, will help us understand the cause of the associated diseases.
To do so, we employ high-throughput techniques such as RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, or Hi-C, that examine not only individual genes, but the genome as a whole, allowing us to measure changes in regulatory mechanisms at a global scale. The computational analysis of these datasets allows us to test hypotheses and draw conclusions from observing specific patterns in the data.
We have a broad range of interests and some of the topics that we are currently working on include:
- analysis of chromatin dynamics during early development (for an example see Hug et al., Cell 2017; Vaquerizas et al., Nature 2016)
- functional and evolutionary conservation of genome organisation (Ishiuchi et al., NSMB 2015)
- deployment and regulation of developmental programmes (Langen et al., Nature Cell Biology 2017)