Investigating the dynamics of genome regulation
The human genome comprises multiple layers of information, from the basic DNA sequence of A,T,C and G nucleotides, to the complex ways in which these DNA molecules folds into 3D structures in different cell types. We have an extensive knowledge of the coding regions of the genome, and are beginning to build a better picture of how the non-coding regions function in regulating gene expression. There are a number of established techniques that gives a steady state, population view of which proteins, elements and regions of the DNA interact with one another; but such processes are highly dynamic and occur at different rates across the genome.
Emily is a second-year DPhil student on the Wellcome Trust Genomic Medicine and Statistics DTC programme. Her talk will discuss a new technique which she is using in her DPhil project to probe dynamic processes within the regulatory genome. Prior to beginning her DPhil, Emily completed an integrated Master’s degree, majoring in Chemistry with Biology at the University of Bath. For her Masters project in developmental genetics, she investigated gene transcription events in the egg-to-embryo transition. It was during this time she became particularly interested in the mechanisms of transcription regulation and the power that bioinformatics can have in leveraging genetic data. For her DPhil Emily is based at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine in the Hughes group. This group is interested in investigating the regulatory elements within the genome, using the alpha-globin locus as a model system.
Endometriosis: More than just a chronic pelvic pain condition?
Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects about 10% of women of reproductive age. Of those that are symptomatic, many women present with pain in the pelvic region; dysmenorrhea (painful periods), dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse), and non-cyclical pain. In addition to pelvic pain, many women are dealing with much more complex pain profiles that extend well into other regions of the body. Previous research has demonstrated that women with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS), a chronic visceral pain comorbid with endometriosis, who also experience pain in multiple other body sites have poorer psychological health compared to those women whose pain is localised to their pelvis (Lai et al., 2017).
Danielle's work thus far has aimed to determine whether or not these relationships exist in those with pain consistent with a diagnosis of endometriosis rather than IC/BPS. In her talk, Danielle will present her phenotyping results in a novel cohort, discuss future analyses, and clinical implications of her findings. Danielle is a second-year DPhil student in the Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health. Her work largely focuses on phenotyping those with endometriosis-associated pain (EAP). As it currently stands, disease severity does not correlate to associated symptoms, and so Danielle's work aims to determine whether pain widespreadness can be used as a correlative tool to better understand comorbid conditions, psychological health, and reproductive outcomes. In addition to her DPhil work, Danielle is an avid public speaker and science communicator on women's reproductive health. She has also recently co-founded a social media campaign (@vulvapology) which aims to demystify common misconceptions about the vulva, and promote discourse on the topic.