A single genome gives rise to more than 200 different cell types in the human body. This remarkable process, known as “epigenesis,” is the result of differentiation programs that orchestrate when and where genes and their products are expressed. Many molecular elements contribute to these programs, including transcription factors, chromatin regulators, histone modifications, and RNAs.
The Broad Institute’s Epigenomics Program surveys epigenomic landscapes to determine how changes in this molecular machinery impact cell behavior, development and more. The group also examines how these features affect human health, including their impact on genome function in embryonic stem cells and how they may contribute to progression and therapeutic resistance in cancer. The program’s ultimate goal is to understand how global changes superimposed on the human genome influence health and disease. This information will be useful for developing new drug-like molecules to correct defects in the cellular epigenomic environment.