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The Drier La​b for Disease Epigenomics

Systematically uncovering the role of dysregulation of chromosome topology and epigenetic regulation in disease


Cancer is driven by genetic and epigenetic changes to the DNA. We now know quite well how genetic alterations of genes drive cancer, thanks to extensive mapping efforts. However, we still know very little about the function of epigenetic alterations, especially at regulatory regions away from genes. These regulatory regions control gene expression, splicing, DNA replication, and intra-chromosomal interactions and therefore have profound impact on the function of the cells in health and disease.
At the Drier lab at the Lautenberg center for immunology and cancer research, we aim to uncover the role of non-genic regulatory elements and how their disruption drives cancer and genetic diseases. This allows us to both elucidate basic mechanisms of regulation of chromosomal interactions, DNA replication, splicing and gene expression, as well as to characterize their disruption in disease and their role in disease initiation and progression. We then aim to leverage this knowledge to predict novel therapeutic targets for the development of new drugs and develop models to predict patient outcome to help guiding treatment plans for patients.
Our scientific approach combines epigenetic profiling, development of computational models and algorithms, and experimental validation. We combine cutting edge experimental techniques with developing new machine learning algorithms and big-data analytical approaches.