University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Thursday, October 11th 2018
10:10 am:
Biophysics Seminar in 120 PAN
Speaker: Dushyant Mehra, graduate student in the biomedical engineering department at the Mayo Clinic
Subject: Mapping and Manipulation of DNA Architecture in Vivo

Genome organization helps regulate gene expression and is an important driver in processes associated with cell development and cell differentiation. Enhancer and insulator complexes that dynamically form play central roles in governing transcriptional dynamics of genes that are associated processes such as cell fate determination and alterations in organization can often lead to disease. Current crosslinking based methods such that map DNA conformations by measuring crosslinking frequency often don’t account for changes in chromatin architecture across different cell states. Recent research suggests that analyzing speed of DNA interaction and not just contact frequency is important in finding DNA contacts that govern gene expression and DNA contacts that important in governing gene expression may not be picked up by current crosslinking based mapping techniques. Dynamic imaging based methods have been used to track dynamics of DNA overtime but are often difficult to apply due conventional microscopy limits which makes it difficult to track dynamics of clustered enhancers and insulators. By employing CRISPR-dCas9 DNA binding domains and super resolution photo-localization microscopy, we aim to optically map chromatin architecture and track dynamics of DNA during a variety of cell states and by tethering sections of DNA together, we are able to understand how these contacts affect affects gene expression. Together, we are able to develop a toolkit to understand the role that chromatin architecture plays in transcription during different cellular processes and cell states.

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