student profile: Mr James Woodmansey


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Engineering Enzymes to Perform Targeted Epigenetic Modifications

Supervisors: Joel MACKAY , Jacqueline MATTHEWS , Ann KWAN

Thesis abstract:

Epigenetics — the study of modifications to DNA and its supporting structures beyond the genetic code — is a field that has seen rapid growth in research and investment over the past decade. It is increasingly evident that epigenetic markers, such as DNA methylation and histone tail modifications, are crucial regulators of gene expression and play important roles in processes such as cell differentiation, stress responses and inheritance. Furthermore, artificial alteration of epigenetic markers shows promise as a method of regulating gene expression for therapeutic or research purposes. However, current methods for interrogating and modifying epigenetic markers are often nonspecific and are only compatible with a small percentage of the ever-increasing number of known epigenetic modifications. This project aims to design and produce a Cas9-based system for highly specific targeting of epigenetic enzymes to sites of interest, enabling reading and modification of a wide range of epigenetic markers at the single-gene level.

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