Areas of Research
- DNA Methylation
Epigenetic modifications are modifications that do not affect, but rather act “on top of” DNA sequences. Epigenetic changes help regulate gene expression in each cell of the body as needed for normal development and function. However, these modifications are often altered during the initiation, development and progression of human cancers. Some of these cancer-specific epigenetic changes work like molecular switches that turn off specific caretaker genes that normally function to safeguard the genome and prevent inappropriate proliferation. Consequently, the loss of such caretakers can facilitate cancer cell formation and growth. Recent technological advances have enabled the mapping of epigenetic differences between normal and cancer cells on a genomic scale with high efficiency. These comprehensive epigenomic profiles are aiding the understanding of the cause, function and consequence of cancer-specific epigenetic changes. Such knowledge is crucial to developing prevention, screening and treatment strategies for various cancer types.
In addition to performing groundbreaking DNA methylation research, the Ting Lab has also developed useful computational tools to aid the identification of functionally relevant epigenomic changes during both normal development and disease states.