Rapid advances in DNA sequencing technologies over the past decade have transformed our ability to read the genome, epigenome, and transcriptome of all living organisms, illuminating the genetic building blocks and dynamics of biological systems. Human population genetics has augmented this knowledge with a wealth of genetic variation associated with disease susceptibility and drug response.
However, establishing causal linkages between genetic changes and cellular function requires the ability to rewrite or modulate endogenous genetic sequences and their numerous transcriptional and epigenetic states at a similar scale.
A major focus of our lab is to develop novel molecular tools that make it possible to dissect and rewire these gene circuits at the DNA and RNA levels. We apply these tools to study immune cells in the brain and periphery, drawing from a palette of technologies including CRISPR-Cas, engineered viruses, organoids, single cell sequencing, massively parallel reporter assays, and pooled genetic screens. Our goal is to uncover the biological mechanisms behind neurodegenerative and immune-related disorders, and exploit this new knowledge to develop therapeutic strategies that endow cells with genetic upgrades to combat disease.
Our work is supported by the University of California at Berkeley, the NIH Director's Early Independence Award, the National Institute on Aging, NIGMS, and Dipanjan and Shashikala Deb. We are housed within the Innovative Genomics Institute.