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Professor, Dept. of Genetics and Biology

Research Summary

The Furey Lab is focused on understanding gene regulatory processes, especially epigenetically controlled processes, and how alterations in the epigenetic landscape in conjunction with genetic and environmental variation contribute to complex phenotypes such as disease. They have explored these computationally by concentrating on the analysis of genome-wide open chromatin, histone modification, and miRNA and gene transcription data generated from high-throughput sequencing experiments. In the process, they have developed several novel statistical methods and computational tools to aid in this investigation of underlying genetic and biological mechanisms of complex phenotypes.

Current work in the Furey Lab has focused on understanding genetic and epigenetic contributors to inflammatory bowel diseases where intestinal immune and epithelial cell identity is altered leading to a chronic inflammatory response to enteric microbiota. In collaboration with Shehzad Sheikh, the work has included analysis of open chromatin, miRNA and mRNA expression, and microbial composition data in both the IL-10 knockout model of colitis, where they found that chromatin is aberrantly reprogrammed in the gut even in a germ-free environment, and in human intestinal tissues, where there were two distinct molecular signatures of Crohn’s disease that are associated with distinct clinical phenotypes.

CGIBD Focus Area(s):  Clinical/Translational Research; Microbiome

Collaborators:  Arthur, Barnes, Gulati, Herfarth, Long, Steinbach, Sartor, Sheikh, Wang