UNC Program in Chromatin and Epigenetics Launches

UNC has launched a new program that aims to address the fundamental gaps in knowledge surrounding epigenetic regulation, with a long-term goal of developing novel therapeutic approaches towards treating human disease. The program is centered around a highly collaborative and team science environment that has a dedicated goal of solving fundamental and challenging problems in chromatin biology – with an emphasis on developing novel approaches towards treating human disease. The large number of research faculty at UNC specializing in different areas of epigenetic research are optimally positioned to meet this challenge.

Faculty at UNC are focused on the basic mechanisms of epigenetic regulation using a variety of model organisms, high-throughput drug discovery efforts to target epigenetic machinery and clinical research that emphasizes epigenetic translational science employing the knowledge gained by basic research and drug discovery efforts. These researchers employ a range of cutting edge technologies, such as genomic and proteomic techniques, to address a vast number of epigenetic problems – and this research is supported by top-notch core facilities. The Chromatin and Epigenetics Program currently encompasses 34 faculty members, and participation of several laboratories from the National Institute of Environmental Health.

Along with the many resources and events associated with this new program, a highlight is the Chromatin and Epigenetics Certificate Program. Doctoral students interested in being formally part of the Program in Chromatin and Epigenetics can apply for entrance into a certificate program. The goal of this program is to provide students with more emphasis on epigenetic mechanisms and further exposure to approaches and techniques used in epigenetic research.

The leadership behind the program are Terry Magnuson, PhD, and Brian Strahl, PhD. Magnuson is a professor and chair of Genetics at UNC and the Executive Associate Dean for Research for the School of Medicine. Work in the Magnuson lab focuses on the role of mammalian genes in unique epigenetic phenomena such as genomic imprinting, X-chromosome inactivation, stem cell pluripotency and the tumor suppressor role of chromatin remodeling complexes. Strahl is a professor and director of graduate studies of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UNC. The Strahl lab addresses how histone post-translational modifications, and the combinatorial codes they create, contribute to the structure and function of chromatin.

sample epi Image

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About drbrianstrahl

Brian David Strahl, a Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), started his research lab in 2001. His research areas include cancer biology, epigenetics and gene regulation. At UNC, Dr. Strahl provides instruction to undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students in his laboratory. Over the years, Brian Strahl has received a number of important awards for his work in the field of gene expression and epigenetics. In 2009, he received the Ruth and Phillip Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement from UNC. In 2008, the National Institutes of Health awarded him a EUREKA (Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration). His alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, awarded him a Young Alumni Award in 2006 for scientific achievement. Brian Strahl has also won the ASBMB Schering-Plough Research Institute Award, a major biomedical award. In 2003, Dr. Strahl was honored by the White House for his achievements and was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. In 2004, Brian was a PEW Scholar in Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Strahl is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Society for Microbiology and the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
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