Areas of Research
- Stem Cell Biology
- Histone Modification
- Developmental Biology
- DNA Methylation
The Chen laboratory specializes in defining the function of epigenetic modifications and how these modifications are regulated, particularly DNA methylation and histone modifications, in mammalian development and human diseases.
Virtually all cells in our body share the same genome, but they show different phenotypes and carry our diverse functions. Individual cell types, characterized by distinct gene expression patterns, are generated during development and then stably maintained. Epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation and post-translational modifications of histones, are critical regulators of chromatin structure and gene expression and play important roles in cellular differentiation and maintenance of cell identities. Aberrant changes in epigenetic modifications and genetic alterations of epigenetic regulators are associated with various developmental disorders and cancer.
Our research aims to define the regulation/dysregulation and biological functions of epigenetic modifications in developmental, cellular, and pathological processes. We take genetic, biochemical, and molecular approaches and use mice, embryonic stem (ES) cells, and other cell lines as model systems.