U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Membrane Regulation Section

Elissa Lei, Ph.D., Chief

About the Section

The Membrane Regulation Section seeks to understand how higher-order chromatin structure influences gene expression. Our main goal is to elucidate mechanisms and regulation of chromatin insulators, which are DNA-protein complexes situated throughout the genome that define distinct transcriptional domains. One area of particular interest is the contribution of RNA and RNA-related mechanisms to chromatin organization. Approaches used in the laboratory include genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and computational analysis of genome-wide datasets. Our work promotes understanding of the intricately orchestrated transcriptional programs needed for proper development and differentiation.

A basic understanding of how DNA organization affects how genes are turned on and off will help us detect alterations in the normal state that could lead to disease. It will also help us to better develop gene-specific treatments to cure disease.

Better understanding of the mechanisms of chromatin insulator function, including the identification of novel interactors and regulatory steps, are needed to move the field forward.​​