Advancing Epigenetics Towards Systems Biology

Ducan Sproul

MRC Human Genetics Unit and Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, University of Edinburgh

DNA methylation in human disease

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The Sproul laboratory is interested in understanding the role that epigenetics plays in human disease risk and pathogenesis, particularly cancer. Our focus is on understanding the dynamics of the repressive epigenetic mark DNA methylation in cancer. We want to understand the molecular mechanisms underpinning the reprogramming of DNA methylation in cancer and how this impacts on cellular function. This knowledge is likely to be central to understand how epigenetic dysfunction impacts on cancer risk and pathogenesis and the role of epigenetics in human disease more generally. We are an interdisciplinary research group that uses genetic, biochemical, cellular and computational approaches to gain new insights into the molecular mechanisms. We conduct computational analyses of epigenomic data from patient cohorts to define molecular epigenomic signatures and dissect the mechanisms underpinning these signatures using laboratory experiments in cellular models.