Determining the mechanisms underlying epigenetic inheritance of chromosome structure and gene expression states

Year of award: 2018


  • Dr Lars Jansen

    University of Oxford

Project summary

The collection of our genes is akin to a book, the genome, which is divided into chapters that carry the instruction to make the different cell types in our body. Cells have ways to physically organise and read their chapter in a process called gene regulation. This means that nerve cells, for example, only read the chapter on nerves. Cells remember which genes to read even when they are dividing, as if they had a bookmark that prevents them from forgetting where they are. If they forget their place, development fails and disease ensues. Remarkably, these instructions are not encoded in DNA and are therefore said to be ‘epi’genetic.

I aim to understand which molecules are involved and how they work to make sure that genes are read even when cells copy themselves and tissues grow.

My findings will help add to our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying epigenetic inheritance of chromosome structure.