My main focus is on the genetic control of genes and programs in the mammary gland during pregnancy and lactation. I currently conduct research on a complex genetic locus composed of genes that are expressed in mammary tissue and genes expressed in salivary glands. Using genomic technologies, I have identified candidate enhancers and super-enhancers and I am using genome editing in mice to determine their exact biological roles within pregnancy and lactation.
As the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Furthermore, under the pandemic I work on understanding the genetic programs of COVID-19 in mammary gland, lung and immune cells using computational approaches in combination with molecular works.
My research investigates gene regulation in the kidney. After injury, kidney cells significantly alter activity of regulatory elements such as enhancers and promoters, which drives injury response. I focus on Klotho gene, a key factor in phosphate and calcium homeostasis and vitamin D production. Decrease in Klotho expression is associated with worsening renal function, and two neighboring enhancer elements were observed to lose activity after injury. Using CRISPR/Cas9, we generated several mouse strains lacking putative Klotho enhancer elements. I aim to characterize renal chromatin landscape, transcription factor binding and gene expression in those mice using ChIP-seq and RNA-seq, and to assess whether selected enhancer deletions can contribute to development of kidney disease.
My current research focuses on the analysis of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) data of mice carrying either different CRISPR-Cas9-mediated mutations or single base changes introduced by base editing to investigate whether the application of those genome editing techniques causes a higher frequency of de novo mutations. Furthermore, I am working on understanding the activation of genetic programs using computational approaches in combination with cutting edge methods such as genome editing.