Chromatin Organization and Dynamics
We are interested in understanding how DNA is organized, and how it moves, inside living cells. To do so, we have developed novel experimental and analytical techniques that allow us to measure with high precision the motion of chromatin throughout the cell nucleus.
Physics of Chromosomes
We use approaches from soft condensed matter physics, polymer physics and biophysics to understand the physics underlying chromatin dynamics. In addition to our experimental and analytical efforts, we collaborate with theoretical physicists and mathematicians to develop theoretical approaches, including both analytical theory and numerical simulations.
Nuclear Envelope Dynamics
The cell nucleus has a highly dynamic boundary, the nuclear envelope. We investigate dynamics of the nuclear envelope, which we find to be closely related to the age of cell and the cell's progression through its cell cycle.
Liquid Condensates in the Nucleus
The cell nucleus contains a number of subnuclear bodies, or organelles, which were found to be membrane-less. This brings up a question how do such structures hold together. We have investigated physical properties of the largest subnuclear body, the nucleolus, which is responsible for ribosomal biogenesis of the cell. We found human nucleoli behave like liquid droplets, and their spontanoues dynamics can be used to probe rheological properties of the surronding chromatin and nucleoplasm.
DNA Damage and Repair
The integrity of DNA is critical for the cellular health and survival. To maintain DNA integrity, cells possess complex DNA repair mechanisms, which can heal DNA damage such as DNA double-stranded breaks. Using machine-learning assisted algorithms, we found that DNA repair processes have very specific structural and dynamical signatures in both local chromatin packing and dynamics.