Gasser lab reunion March 19-22, 2015 Chexbres, Switzerland
About the Gasser LabMuch of our insight into epigenetic control mechanisms stems from studies of model organisms, namely budding and fission yeasts, worms, plants, and flies. The Gasser laboratory pursues two related areas of research: First, the mechanisms that maintain genomic stability through replication, and second, those that mediate epigenetic inheritance of transcriptional states through cell division and development. We address these questions at both molecular and systemic levels, and have had particular success in extending the approaches optimized in budding yeast to the nematode C. elegans. These model organisms allow us to examine epigenetic inheritance over a range of environmental and pharmacological conditions, and allow us to examine genetically the epigenetic control mechanisms. Recent breakthroughs with nematodes have indeed allowed us to demonstrate a role for nuclear organization in cellular differentiation.
Given that the epigenome responds to both internal and external signals, and has the capacity to be transmitted through replication into daughter cells, epigenetics provides a means for environmental stress to affect tissue-specific differentiation events. Thus we examine the role of chromatin and histone modifications in DNA repair as well as DNA replication. Finally we are examining how the organization of such chromatin in the nucleus contributes to the establishment and/or propagation of an epigenetic profile.