Our research group focuses on understanding the fundamental principles that govern how the three-dimensional architecture of the human genome is established and maintained. To this end, we apply single-molecule DNA and RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) techniques to visualize the position and structure of DNA loci and chromosomes, together with the expression of selected genes, at high resolution in thousands of individual cells. In parallel, we develop new methods based on next-generation sequencing, that allow us to measure the radial position of DNA loci genome-wide. We combine state-of-the-art cell culture techniques with genetic and chemical manipulation of genome structure and function, and then apply our methods to probe for structural and functional changes that occur genome-wide or at selected loci.
In the past four years, we have established a powerful platform—iFISH—that enables us to produce hundreds of oligonucleotide probes for DNA and RNA FISH at affordable cost, in a short time. We are now using iFISH to label all human chromosomes with DNA FISH probes evenly spaced every one megabase (Mb), and then build an atlas of chromosome structures and arrangements in different cell types and tissues. In parallel, we have developed a method for Genomic loci Positioning by Sequencing—GPSeq—that allows us to measure, genome-wide, the radial position that a DNA locus occupies in the nucleus, with respect to the nuclear periphery/center. We are now applying GPSeq to find out whether different cell types harbor different radial genome configurations, as well as to learn how chromosomal territories form and arrange themselves in the nucleus, at the end of each mitosis.
Magda Bienko, PhD, Principal Investigator
Emma Inns, Lab Administrator
Federico Agostini, Senior Researcher
Su Wang, Postdoc
Erik Wernersson, Senior Researcher
Eleni Gelali, PhD student
Gabriele Girelli, PhD student
Tomasz Kallas, PhD student
Ana Mota, PhD student
We are always interested in recruiting talented and curious people, with a strong passion for science, in general, and genome biology, in particular.