(PhD – University of California, San Diego)
Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology (PCB) &
Duke Cancer Institute (DCI)
Our research interests focus broadly on the role for chromatin modification and epigenetic mechanism in gene regulation, development and disease, notably cancer. Our recent works in this broad field have shown that dysregulation of enzymes and effectors involved in histone and DNA methylation causally leads to gene expression deregulation and cancer development. We favor a general view that human disease including cancer often arises from dysregulation of an “epigenetic language” embedded in the genome, when it is mis-written, mis-erased or mis-interpreted. Currently, our laboratory employs cutting-edge techniques, which include CRISPR/cas9-based genomic editing, deep sequencing and small-molecule epigenetic inhibitors, to address issues relating to fundamentals of epigenetics and cancer therapeutics. Multiple on-going projects are (1) biochemical characterization of novel factors/complexes that read chromatin modification; (2) CRISPR/dCas9-based editing of epigenomic modifications for understanding their roles in gene function; (3) knockout and knock-in mouse models with deficiency in chromatin regulators in context of development and tumorigenesis; (4) epigenomic and transcriptome analyses (ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq) of normal versus cancer cells to delineate pathways essential for tumor growth.