1,75 million euros to study the dark side of the genome

3 September 2020• NEWSITEM

Assistant professor Baoxu Pang has been awarded a 1.75 million euros Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). He will use the money to systematically study repressive elements in human DNA, or what he calls ‘the dark side of the genome’.

Baoxu PangLess than 1.5% of the human genome contains information of the estimated 25,000 genes. The rest includes many so called regulatory elements that control in which cell types and at what time certain genes are transcribed. Most regulatory elements have been characterized extensively, but one class – the silencers – has not been systematically characterized and studied. Silencers are known to repress the transcription of genes. Pang: “I call them the dark side of the genome, because there is so much unknown about this part of the genome.”

Systematically identify

Using his Starting Grant, he plans to systematically identify silencers in in the human DNA and increase the general understanding of the biology of silencers. Pang: “I aim to identify a general pattern of epigenetic modifications of silencers, unique combination of sequence motifs, responsible regulatory transcriptional factors, biological pathways that are regulated by silencers, diseases that might be related to mutations in silencers, and finally better manipulation strategies of silencers.”  

Read more about Baoxu Pang and his research lab.

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