Understanding the mechanisms of gene transcriptional regulation

The control of when and where genes are utilized is a major component driving phenotypic differences between organisms and individuals. In our lab, we use computational methods to study how, when, where, and why genes are “turned on and off”. To this end, we study transcription factors, which interact with the genome by binding to short sequences proximal to the genes they control. Humans have 1500 different transcription factors, each of which recognizes different short sequences, or “motifs”, within the genome. We develop methods for determining transcription factor motifs, integrating these motifs with other information to predict transcription factor binding, and understanding the regulatory mechanisms underlying human diseases.