Welcome to the UNC Program in Chromatin and Epigenetics

Epigenetic regulation is recognized to play a fundamental role in cell growth, cell fate and organismal development. While playing a key role in regulating our genome, much of the epigenetic machinery is found to be recurrently mutant and/or de-regulated in many human diseases including cancer. At UNC, our mission is to address the fundamental gaps in knowledge surrounding epigenetic regulation, with a long-term goal of developing novel therapeutic approaches towards treating human disease.

The Chromatin and Epigenetics Research Program

Our program is centered on a highly collaborative and team science environment that has a dedicated goal of solving fundamental and challenging problems in chromatin biology – with an emphasis on developing novel approaches towards treating human disease. With the large number of research faculty at UNC specializing in different areas of epigenetic research, we are optimally positioned to meet this challenge. Faculty at UNC are focused on i) the basic mechanisms of epigenetic regulation using a variety of model organisms, ii) high-throughput drug discovery efforts to target epigenetic machinery, and iii) clinical research that emphasizes epigenetic translational science employing the knowledge gained by basic research and drug discovery efforts. We employ a range of cutting edge technologies, such as genomic and proteomic techniques, to address a vast number of epigenetic problems – and this research is supported by top-notch core facilities. The Chromatin and Epigenetics Program currently encompasses 34 faculty members, and participation of several laboratories from the National Institute of Environmental Health.

The chromatin and epigenetics program at UNC provides undergraduate, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with an exceptional training environment to conduct their research studies. Trainees typically collaborate with multiple epigenetic-focused labs and interact frequently with faculty to advance their studies. Monthly chromatin group meetings involving all of the epigenetics community at UNC and NIEHS allow trainees the opportunity to hear cutting edge science and to receive feedback on their research. This collective group has formed the Carolina Chromatin Consortium (C3), which focuses on the organization of team science groups and tracking key seminars and events related to epigenetics. This is supported by a significant infrastructure of pilot funding programs at UNC provded by the Office of Research, TraCS, and the University Cancer Research Fund (UCRF) to enable new and exciting lines of research.

Graduate students in the Chromatin and Epigenetics program will be able to earn a certificate in Chromatin and Epigenetics that can be an additional element of their doctoral training. This certificate can be earned through participation in the many ongoing events focused on epigenetics at UNC, presenting at an international meeting, and by taking an advanced topics course in chromatin and epigenetics where students participate in the analysis of recent impactful papers in the field.