The complete sequencing of the human genome has provided an unprecedented opportunity for the study of the structure and function of the human genome. While our genome has historically been viewed as a linear sequence of bases, it has progressively become clear that this is an inadequate way to represent our genetic information. Notably, research over the last 30 years has begun to shed light on the fact that the higher-order, 3-dimensional organization of our genome plays a critical role in the interpretation of the genetic information encoded in our genome. The structure of our genome in the nucleus has been clearly demonstrated to play influential roles in diverse nuclear processes including DNA replication and gene expression. Despite this, our understanding of the structure of our genome within the nucleus remains incomplete. The reasons for this include limitations in the resolution and throughput of existing tools in chromatin topology mapping, a scarcity of the analytical tools for studying genome structure datasets, and the difficulty to relate the nuclear structure to function. Due to recent advancements in molecular methods based on high-throughput DNA sequencing, single cell analytical approaches, and high-resolution microscopy, the time for breaking through these previous limitations has come. We will establish a highly collaborative, innovative team in order to develop the tools necessary to transform our understanding of chromatin architecture and function in mammalian cells. We will begin by developing datasets that establish gold standards for the study of nuclear structure and function using genetic, biochemical and imaging approaches. We will optimize current existing technologies for mapping genome wide chromatin interactions, while also developing novel, complementary approaches for studying chromatin structure. We will also develop innovative analytical methods to interpret the chromatin structural data, unraveling principles of structural- and temporal- chromatin organization. Our highly collaborative team will draw on the diverse experiences of its members to provide a synergistic environment to push the limits of our understanding of nuclear structure. We expect that the tools and datasets generated through the proposed research will dramatically advance our understanding of the chromatin structure and function in human cells.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed research center will bring together a team of investigators with outstanding track records in biology, computation, and physics, to focus on developing transformative tools that will enable the investigation of 3D genome organization in human cells at unprecedented scale, resolution and temporal detail. Results from this study will improve our understanding of the mechanisms of chromatin organization, and facilitate research into the genetic basis of human diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BST-U (50))
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Blondel, Olivier
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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Ltd
La Jolla
United States
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