We study how our DNA changes when we age or develop diseases, with the aim of understanding how fundamental changes in our genome DNA can lead to age related disorders and inspire next-generation therapeutics.
Our genome is almost 3 meters long and packed in a cell nucleus with a volume of few squared micrometers. To accommodate DNA in the cell nucleus, a highly regulated and precise process of compaction is routinely performed by our cells, ensuring correct packaging of our genome in the nucleus.
Formation of alternative DNA structures that deviate from the canonical double-helix and chemical modifications of DNA, such as DNA-methylation, play a key role in orchestrating the compaction of the genome in the cell nucleus. These chemical and structural modifications are typically exploited by cells to achieve diverse DNA compaction and differentiate in different tissues, but “memory loss” of correct DNA condensation can contribute to the development of age-related diseases, such as cancer or dementia.
Our lab investigates fundamental changes in DNA structures and chemical modification that are associated with ageing, cancer or rare genetic diseases. We develop chemical tools to visualise, map and perturb with precision DNA-architecture at a genomic scale. We leverage the chemical platforms developed in our lab to address unanswered questions on ageing and cancer biology, in order to inspire the design of next-generation therapeutics.