Laboratory of Genomic Data Science and Epigenome Biology
Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology
School of Medicine
West Virginia University
Dr. Hu’s laboratory combines computational methods and experimental techniques to understand epigenetic regulation of gene expression of immune cells under physiologic conditions and in disease such as cancers. It is a “moisture” lab with both dry and wet components.
The epigenome of an eukaryotic cell consists of chemical changes to DNA sequence and histone proteins wrapped by the DNA sequence. Chromatin modifying enzymes, transcription factors, and transcription machinery collectively modulate the epigenome to instruct gene expression program. The overarching goal of the lab is to understand the impact of environmental stimuli on the epigenetic regulation of transcription program of immune cells and explore the dysregulation leading to disease and drug resistance. We are particularly interested in how epigenome senses environmental stimuli and then transforms to modulate transcription program in response, taking multiple myeloma in the bone-marrow microenvironment as a model system.
We combine computational methods with experimental sequencing data produced in public and generated in-house for hypothesis generation and testing. We measure the epigenome using established genome-wide profiling techniques to determine the genome-wide landscapes of different epigenetic components, such as histone modifications and transcription factors with ChIP-Seq, chromatin accessibility with ATAC-Seq, 3D chromatin with Hi-C, and gene expression with RNA-Seq. We utilize existing and develop new computational tools to explore the complexities of epigenetic regulation related to disease, in cell populations and at single cell level.
As systems immunologists, we are thrilled to embrace the era of data-rich cancer and immunology research driven by deep sequencing. Trainees in the lab will have ample opportunities to develop both computational skills and experimental skills to generate/process sequencing data and to formulate/test hypotheses. We encourage trainees with biology background to learn basics in data analysis with programming and building pipelines, and mentor trainees with computation/mathematics/physics background to formulate biology questions through interaction with biologists. The lab also commits to offer trainees opportunities to acquire essential skills for team-science through collaborations with on-campus and/or off-campus laboratories from distinctive but relevant research fields.
- Co-authored manuscript submitted with Dr Ming Pei's lab. Fingers crossed.
- Dr Lei Wang from Institute of Biophysics, CAS, committed to join the lab as a bioinformatics post-doc. Dr Wang has numerous major author publications in respected journals. He also has several now under-review with top journals. Congratulations! Lei.
- Co-authored manuscript submitted with Dr Ivan Martinez's lab. Fingers crossed.
- Guess what? Later of today (09/20/2019), we had our first WVU-branded co-corresponding paper submitted with Dr Edwin Wan's lab. From data analysis to paper submission, it was less than two months. Yes, that's the speed of mountaineers. Fingers crossed.
- Dr Yi Zhang accepted an experimental post-doc position in the lab. Dr Zhang has published three first-author papers during his PhD training, including one in Cell Research (impact factor = 18. What?). Congratulations Yi. We are looking forwards to your on-boarding.
- Manuscript submitted for iHiC, a set of C++ utilities for data pre/post-procession to facilitate Hi-C data analysis.
- ACT-Seq for single-cell ChIP-Seq of histone modification accepted by Nature Communications (Dr Hu as a co-author).
- Aniello Infante joined the lab/core as a lead bioinformatician. Welcome Niel!