Our Research Focus
We seek to understand the role in disease played by a class of genes called long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), which are pervasive in the human genome yet have limited or no protein-coding potential. Our team invents new technologies for genome-wide analyses to tackle the vastness of the noncoding genome with greater comprehensiveness and precision than was previously possible. Our lab discovered that long noncoding RNAs have diverse modes of action when it comes to gene control and are key contributors to some human diseases such as cancer. We are now focused particularly on the interplay of regulatory RNAs and chromatin, seeking out new archetypes of regulatory RNAs and novel mechanisms for gene regulation.
More recently, we are studying one of the major drivers of tumour evolution, extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA), whic are small circular DNA particles that cells employ to rapidly change their genomes and can drive adaptive evolution in diverse organisms. Although ecDNA was first observed in cancer in 1965, we are only now appreciating its presence in around a third of cancers and the extent to which it drives tumour evolution, promoting aggressive tumour behaviour and poorer patient survival.