Assistant Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
3330 Hospital Dr. NW
Calgary, AB T2N 4N1
Other Area(s) of Research:
My overall research areas are in bioinformatics and epigenetics. I’m particularly interested in roles of epigenetic modifications in controlling processes in neuroscience and cancer. Here, I use epigenetics in the “modern” sense (some would say incorrect sense) to refer to modifications of DNA and histones to control gene expression. I’d add in transcription factors here, too, with the risk of diluting epigenetic to just mean “transcriptional regulation”.
In recent times, it has become clear that these epigenetic modifications are a much more critical and flexible system than previously expected. Notably, even in adult cells, direct DNA methylation is subject to change to transduce signals. And in cancer, there is great excitement around targeting epigenetic modifications for therapy and differential diagnosis; in fact, some drugs targeted generally at epigenetic marks are FDA-approved and in current clinical usage.
Technological changes (high density, high quality arrays with long probes, “next generation sequencing”, advances in chromatin immunoprecipitation protocols) have led an explosion in high quality, genome-scale data on epigenetic marks. Concomitant with these developments, nearly all (non-proprietary) datasets are available, after publication, via resources like NCBI GEO for public, unfettered access to data. All of these developments, coupled with the increase in other types of genome-scale data, has led to:
(1) an acute need for high-quality analysis tools for individual datasets
(2) also a need for tools to allow robust and extensible analysis across datasets using different experimental methodologies.
(1) Epigenetic Modifications in Glioma Stem Cells.
(2) Development of Novel Analysis Approaches for High-Throughput Chromatin Immunoprecipitation Experiments
(3) Development of Novel Frameworks for Integrating Disparate Genome Scale Datasets
(4) (in collaboration) Markers for outcomes of cervical cancer therapy; Analysis of transcriptional role of src-mutations in breast cancer