Structure, evolution and dynamics of transcriptional networks and impact on genome organization

M Madan Babu, PhD
Group Leader, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK
Fellow of Darwin College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 9EU, UK

Tuesday 20 October, Location: Cruciform LT2, time: 17:00

Our research focus is to determine how regulation is achieved at multiple levels in cellular systems and how this influences genome evolution. We address this by investigating regulatory processes that involve protein-protein, protein-nucleic acid and protein-small molecule interactions at three distinct levels. (1) At the molecular level, we intend to discover new features of regulatory systems. In particular, we investigate individual proteins and groups of related proteins to discover novel protein domains, predict functions of remote homologs and identify novel regulatory mechanisms through innovative ways of data integration. (2) At the systems level, we seek to understand how various regulatory processes are co-ordinated to maintain cellular homeostasis. For example, we study groups of proteins that participate in distinct regulatory processes such as transcription, post-translational regulation, etc to understand how fidelity in signaling is achieved. (3) At the genomic level, we aim to understand how the various regulatory processes influence evolution of genomes and the phenotypic traits associated with them. Specifically, we investigate how regulation of gene expression at multiple levels such as transcriptional regulation and chromatin modification influence the organisation of genes on chromosomes. To achieve these aims, we make use of our strengths which are (i) to build new conceptual frameworks using computational procedures that exploit publicly available data from a large number of diverse sources and (ii) our broad knowledge-base about different regulatory processes and the experimental expertise available within the institute and through our collaborators. Finally, we envision that our research will help understand how mutations influencing these regulatory processes result in dysfunctions associated with diseases and that the findings can be exploited in applications such as protein and genetic engineering.

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