The Epigenetic Network in Embryonic Stem Cells

This project aims to understand how histone modifications on H3K27 affect the epigenetic network in stem cells (mESCs). Studies in epigenetics normally focus on a single modification or just a few of them, missing the implication of changes to one modification to the rest of the network. This project uses mESCs with an H3K27R mutation, provided to us by Krisitan Helin’s lab, that can not be post-translationally modified on lysine 27. By measuring dozens of epigenetic marks simultaneously with cytometry by time-of-flight (CyTOF), the epigenetic network, rather than a handful of modifications, can be looked at in each experiment.

Through this project, we hope to add a new dimension to the perception of the epigenetics of stem cells and the first differentiation steps. Instead of looking at a one-directional sequence of events starting at a single perturbation, we are researching the earliest developmental stages by looking at the effects of H3K27 perturbation on the epigenome as a whole.