Rather than acting as an inert scaffold for DNA, dynamic and flexible chromatin structures and modifications have profound effects on almost all aspects of chromosome behaviour and genome function. Thus, the second objective of our research utilizes Saccharomyces cerevisiae (brewers’ yeast) as a model organism to tease apart the mechanisms responsible for the creation, regulation, and maintenance of chromatin signatures. These queries include how distinct chromosomal neighbourhoods are established, how they function and interact with enzymes involved in DNA metabolism, what functional differences exist between histone variants and canonical histones, and how chromatin-remodeling complexes are regulated. 

Currently, we focus on three distinct areas of chromatin biology: functional genomic characterization of chromatin-modifying complexes; DNA damage repair in the context of the chromatin template; and crosstalk between the RNAPII machinery and chromatin. Please see our Publications page for further information.

Our lab also works with Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) to study how early gene by environment interactions shape behaviour and biology, and with human cells to understand the mechanisms underlying diverse health problems including fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, and more.