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Masonic Cancer Center and Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development
Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, 2001, Ph.D.
Chromatin, CHD5, Chromosome Engineering, Tumor Suppressor, Schizophrenia
1. We are interested in developing functional genetic models of human diseases, namely cancer and schizophrenia. We are particularly interested in understanding the effect of the genomic structural variants associated with these diseases. Recurrent genomic deletions and amplifications have been a hallmark of many cancers. Similarly, the role of genomic copy number variation (CNV) in neurological diseases is coming under sharp focus after being implicated in a number of genome wide association studies. We use chromosome engineering, a technique that combines Cre/loxP and gene targeting in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells to create genetically enginnered mouse models mirroring these aberrations.
2. We are interested in understanding the role of the chromatin in cancer. How the chromatin remodels in response to cellular cues is pivotal to the final outcome of the cell. Importantly, chromatin influences cellular differentiation. The malignant transformation of cell is partly due to improper cellular differentiation and collapse of a proper chromatin remodeling machinery, leading to activation of agents of transformation. Recently we identified Chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein (CHD5), a chromatin remodeling gene, as a tumor suppressor. CHD5 is located in Hu 1p36.3, a locus frequently deleted in many cancers. We are now investigating the molecular mechanism of tumor suppression by CHD5.