University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Mathematical Modelling of Epigenetic Regulation
The focus of our group is on applying mathematic al modelling techniques to elucidate mechanisms that use epigenetic components in the regulation of gene expression. We place a strong emphasis on collaboration with experimental groups – formulating models from existing data, using these models to make predictions that guide further experiments and in turn refine the models in an ongoing cycle. Currently, our research centres around two distinct novel mechanisms of regulation. The first is gene regulation by non-coding transcription, in particular transcription that is antisense to annotated genes. In yeast, the presence of antisense transcription results in altered modes of gene expression and correlates with changes in the chromatin landscape but how this occurs remains poorly understood. The second mechanism is regulation by Polycomb proteins at CpG islands in mammals, which may involve polycomb repressive complex 1 in a sampling and reinforcing role rather than direct regulation.