Across our genome, DNA elements with non-coding, yet key regulatory function, harbor characteristic epigenetic signatures that ultimately impact transcriptional output. In particular, a subset of enhancer elements termed super-enhancers (SEs) have been shown to drive exceptionally high transcription of genes essential for cell identity and tumorigenesis. SEs are densely contacted by a critical transcription factor (TF) network referred to as “Core Regulatory Circuitry (CRC)”. Interestingly, CRCs have been shown to sub-classify specific cancer types, thereby revealing options for therapeutic intervention.
Our laboratory is interested in characterizing such CRCs in cancer subtypes bearing specific genetic lesions. To this end, we extensively perform functional genomics studies to interrogate the dependency of cancer models on oncogenic TFs, their pathway modulators and target genes in order to identify novel cancer vulnerabilities. Moreover, we perform epi-/genomic and proteomic profiling on novel TFs/CRCs to further characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying their oncogenic role.
We are working in close collaboration with different departments within NIBR, as well as with Dirk Schuebeler’s lab at the FMI (Postdoc Co-Mentor) and Charles Lin’s lab at the Baylor College of Medicine.