Our research aims to understand how non-coding elements (DNA/RNA) and their epigenetic modifications regulate 3D genome architecture and gene expression. Identifying the molecular principles governing gene expression of pluripotent cells is fundamental to better understand how cell identity is regulated and for its potential therapeutic implications.
To address this question we use cuttting-edge chromatin conformation assays such as Hi-C and Hi-ChIP and other high-throughput sequencing techniques (e.g. RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq) in combination with CRISPR-based genetic and epigenetic engineering tools in both mouse embryonic stem cells and human cancer stem cells. Our final goal is to understand how ncRNAs and their protein co-factors can induce and/or maintain 3D promoter-enhancer contacts, which ultimately determines the set of cell-type-specific expressed genes that are important for stemness and tumorigenesis.