Laboratory J. Andrew Pospisilik

Laboratory J. Andrew Pospisilik

Epigenetic control of complex disease

Current estimates place the prevalence of diabetes and obesity in the range of 300 million to beyond 1 billion by the year 2030. As critical risk factors for heart disease, cancer and stroke, obesity and diabetes currently represent one of the world's chief economic and health care challenges. While studies have established elegant genetic frameworks for our current understanding of these complex disorders, the contribution of a number of critical regulatory layers, in particular epigenetic regulation, remains poorly understood.

Our lab is interested in defining epigenetic regulatory systems that contribute to the susceptibility and development of complex disease. These paradigms are broad and include, among others, post-translational modifications of histones, non-coding RNAs, and modifiers of chromatin stability such as the Polycomb-Trithorax Groups. What is clear at present is that these epigenetic effectors play a critical role in defining set-points for entire functional gene sets; the fundamental outstanding question we are interested in is how these epigenetic cues influence the susceptibility and development of human disease.