Noncoding regulatory elements of the human genome harbor the majority of disease-related genetic variants. The biological consequence of these variants is unknown and extremely difficult to study in human populations. Further, a lack of basic understanding of how these regions control gene expression prevents our ability to predict the impact variation within noncoding regulatory regions may have on disease states. It is known that noncoding regulatory regions are marked by epigenetic modifications, which dynamically respond to environmental stimuli and allow for cell type specific gene expression programs. The factors that regulate and respond to epigenetic modifications are under intense investigation. In the Baker lab, I will be using mouse embryonic stem cells derived from a panel of recombinant inbred strains to study how genetic variation shapes the epigenetic landscape. I aim to reveal the identity of elusive factors that contribute to the chromatin regulatory system and track how contributing factors may change throughout cellular differentiation.
BS, Biochemistry, Simmons College, Boston, MA