School of Medicine
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Professor of Pathology and of Microbiology and Immunology and, by courtesy, of Chemical and Systems Biology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Our lab uses chemical, biochemical, and cell biological methods to study protease function in human disease. Projects include:
1) Design and synthesis of novel chemical probes for each of the primary protease families.
2) Understanding the role of proteolysis in the life cycle of the human parasites, Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii.
3) Defining the specific functional roles of proteases during the process of tumorogenesis.
4) In vivo imaging of protease activity
Postdoctoral Research fellow, Chemical and Systems Biology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests During development cells change their cellular identity in response to signaling cues from their environment in a highly reproducible manner.Understanding how these cell fate decisions are driven and manifest in the cell are of key interest for developmental biology but also for cancer research and regenerative medicine. Transcriptional enhancers are the main driver of developmental cell fate transition, however we still don't understand how enhancers are driving the transcription of their target gene. In order to analyze enhancer function we have recently developed a powerful differentiation strategy that allow us now to follow enhancer activation over time in a dynamic fashion.
During early embryonic development pluripotent cell of the epiblast give rise to all cells of the embryo. We have characterized in depth the epigenetic changes that drive the transition from the early pre-implantation epiblast to the late postimplantation epiblast, we have identified key markers and have mapped changes in the enhancer landscape. In the future we can harness these results to focus on the role that single enhancer elements have the expression of their target gene(s).
We are employing
- the powerful CRISPR-Cas9 system to mutate and delete enhancers
- chromatin conformation capture to analyze changes in the 3dimensional chromatin folding
-single molecule RNA-FISH to test how changes in the population are reflected in single cells.
James K. Chen
Associate Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology and of Developmental Biology and, by courtesy, of Chemistry
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Our laboratory combines synthetic chemistry and developmental biology to investigate the molecular events that regulate embryonic patterning, tissue regeneration, and tumorigenesis. We are currently using genetic and small-molecule approaches to study the molecular mechanisms of Hedgehog signaling, and we are developing chemical technologies to perturb and observe the genetic programs that underlie vertebrate development.