Areas of Research
- Epigenetics Research
- DNA Repair Research
- DNA Damage Response
- Chromatin Remodelers Research
- Nuclear Actin Research
The Shen laboratory seeks to answer basic questions regarding the regulation and maintenance of the eukaryotic genome, which is organized into chromatin. Their work is focused on understanding how chromatin is remodeled by ATP-dependent chromatin remodelers, such as those of the SWI/SNF family, to accommodate nuclear functions, including transcription and DNA repair, and how defective chromatin remodeling might lead to cancer. The laboratory also has a special interest in the function of nuclear actin.
The Shen laboratory seeks to define new paradigms in the maintenance of the eukaryotic genome. While classical studies on the DNA damage response have focused on DNA, we are now addressing the role of chromatin in genome integrity. Chromatin is modified via two major modes, mechanisms that involve ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling and mechanisms that involve histone modification. Lab research is focused on defining how these chromatin-modifying activities are involved in the DNA damage response and how alterations in their activities lead to cancer.
The lab uses budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model system, taking advantage of its powerful genetics and well-developed biochemical tools. Their current research focuses on a novel and evolutionarily conserved class of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes called the INO80 class. The study of the INO80 complex has led to two main areas of research : the DNA damage response, and the regulation of nuclear actin.