The long-term goals of our research are to understand how the information encoded in the DNA of plant and animal genomes is controlled by epigenetic processes, how the epigenome is altered by the surrounding environment, and to develop molecular tools for precision epigenome engineering.
By modulating accessibility to the information encoded in the genome, epigenetic modifications can affect gene activation and repression to execute distinct transcriptional programs and impart a heritable state of transcriptional activity. We use advanced DNA sequencing, molecular, genetic and computational techniques to generate whole-genome high resolution maps of epigenetic modifications in a diverse range of complex multicellular organisms, including plants, humans, mice, and eusocial insects. Through these studies we aim to elucidate the mechanistic underpinnings of how the epigenome is established and dynamically modified, and how it affects the cellular readout of the underlying genetic information.
Developing a comprehensive understanding of how the cell utilizes the epigenome is essential in order to both understand the critical roles it plays in eukaryotic development and stress response, and to develop effective strategies to remedy its disruption in disease states.
Our research is generously supported by funding from the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council, the National Institutes of Health, the Raine Medical Research Foundation, The University of Western Australia, and the Western Australian and Australian governments.