Francesco FERRARI

Principal investigator at IFOM, the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology, Milan – Researcher (“Dirigente di ricerca”) at IGM- CNR, Institute of Molecular Genetics – National Research Council, Pavia, ITALY

Monday, 25 October 2021 | 11:00 am – ICGEB Trieste, ITALY

From chromatin 3D organization to transcription regulation

Host: G. Del Sal

The three-dimensional (3D) organization of chromatin within the cell nucleus is crucial for regulating genome functionality. The knowledge of its role has greatly advanced thanks to the development of novel imaging and molecular biology techniques.
My research group is especially interested in understanding how chromatin 3D architecture is connected to transcription regulation, and how this regulatory axis ultimately affects cell identity definition in physiological and pathological conditions, with a special focus on cancer.

Depending on the level of resolution adopted in the study of chromatin 3D organization, distinct molecular mechanisms are involved in its regulation.
On a large scale, we investigate mechanisms for the coordinated control of large chromatin domains in physiological and disease conditions. These involve, among the others, the compartmentalization of the genome in distinct structural domains, such as Topologically Associating Domains (TADs), or Lamina Associated Domains (LADs). In this seminar I will discuss how we characterize their changes and heterochromatin dynamics in cancer and other diseases.

On a finer scale, instead, we study how chromatin 3D folding comes into play to control the physical association of distal regulatory elements (enhancers) and their target genes. In this context I will discuss how we combine biological knowledge and computational approaches to reconstruct the connections of enhancers to the broader gene regulatory network, and to characterize their epigenetic or genetic alterations in cancer and other diseases.