The Epigenetics group and the Manitoba Epigenetic Network were established under the leadership of Dr. James Davie, who has had more than 30 years experience in this field. Epigenetics is the study of changes in the regulation of gene activity and expression that are not dependent on alterations in gene (DNA) sequence. Histone modifications such as acetylation, methylation, ubiquitination and phosphorylation to name a few, DNA modifications including methylation at cytosines, and RNA (both coding and non-coding) have roles in regulating epigenetic events, which decide whether genes are turned off or on. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression programs is very dynamic and may be altered by diet, environment and in disease states such as cancer. The fascinating feature of epigenetics is that these processes are reversible. Through the study of epigenetics, new biomarkers for detecting disease and new therapies for treating disease have arisen and are now being used in the clinic. Members of the Epigenetics group are studying dysfunctional epigenetic processes in cancer (colorectal, breast, prostate), fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, Rett syndrome, and type II diabetes.
The Manitoba Epigenetic Network was established to foster collaborative research in epigenetics. The Network will provide resources for those involved or interested in epigenetics. Research in epigenetics has seen major advances due in part to innovative new technologies, such as the ever advancing Next Generation Sequencers. Methodologies in epigenetics are also quickly evolving with single cell methodologies being realized. The knowledge and skills of the Manitoba epigenetic research community are diverse. It is our hope that the Network will foster collaboration and team building. In addition, the Network site will provide the latest information about funding opportunities, methodology and meetings to aid epigenetic researchers.
Faculty in this research area are:
Dr. James Davie
Dr. Mojgan Rastegar