Research in our laboratory is focused on understanding how silent chromatin domains are established and epigenetically inherited. Silent domains, also called heterochromatin, are a conserved feature of eukaryotic chromosomes and play central roles in maintenance of chromosome stability and epigenetic memory of gene expression states.
We apply a combination of approaches ranging from genetics, biochemical reconstitution, biophysics, proteomics, genomics, and structural biology to study epigenetics in yeast and mammalian cells. Our studies are focused on understanding the interplay between histone posttranslational modifications and other pathways that control epigenetic inheritance. These pathways include small and large noncoding RNAs associated with the RNAi pathways, DNA sequence motifs, histone modifying enzymes, chromatin replication, and other factors.
In addition to epigenetic memory, which is encoded at the DNA and chromatin levels, we study how microRNAs regulate neuronal memory and changes in synaptic plasticity.