Research SummaryIntermediate Fellowship research summary
Individual cell of a multicellular organism maintains its specialized identity while sharing the identical genetic content. Accordingly, the new information that emerges during development, and is beyond alterations in DNA sequence is governed by epigenetic mechanisms. To date pluripotent stem cells have been used as a model to investigate underlying epigenetic events that occur during human development. Recently, field of epigenetics has become more fascinating with the discovery of cellular reprogramming, wherein given identity of the cell type can be switched from one type to other. This conversion is achieved simply by over expression of specified transcription factors, thereby erasing the existing epigenetic memory so as to attain the new one.
Our central and long-term research interest focuses on developing and applying innovative epigenetic approaches to human stem cell biology and regeneration with an emphasis on translational medicine and application. In particular, the questions we are trying to address are: the molecular mechanism that are responsible for cellular plasticity of fibroblasts towards establishment of pluripotent state and subsequent potential towards tissue regeneration, the role of methyl/demethyl transferases in cellular de/transdifferentiation and characterization of signaling pathways that intersect with chromatin modulators to govern such cell fate decisions.