My field of research is the determination of stem cell fate. I seek to understand the regulation of gene expression that gives rise to a specific type of cell. My model of choice is the germ line of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, which produces both sperm and egg.
The laboratory provides next-generation sequencing (NGS) service for the NIDDK community. In my own research, NGS is a tool to define patterns of cell-type-specific gene expression, to characterize chromatin modifications associated with that expression, and to identify mutations that alter cell fate or function. We also use these NGS data sets for the development and implementation of bioinformatics software for analysis pipelines.
Currently, we do not understand many of the rules that govern cell fate determination, which limits our ability to apply stem cell treatment toward specific therapeutic ends.