Research

research theme 2021

 

The focus of our research is to understand the biology of human gene regulatory elements such as enhancers in the non-coding genome and how transcription factors in control and modulate gene expression in health and disease. Currently, three lines of research are ongoing in the laboratory:

Role of defined transcription factors in cell fate and organ-specific cancer

We are developing a novel cell fate conversion assay to study the early regulatory events in pancreatic cancer – one of the most lethal cancer types currently lacking clear diagnostic markers and effective treatment options. By combining our novel approach to multi-layered omics data from next-generation sequencing-based methods, we can study how lineage-specific transcription factors collaborate with oncogenes to orchestrate early events of tumorigenesis at single-cell resolution. 

Non-coding regulatory genome and enhancer malfunction in cancer

Non-coding genome is a vast resource of regulatory elements utilized by transcription factors to orchestrate cell type- and context-specific gene expression. Cancer cells can hijack and repurpose these elements for activating tumorigenic signaling pathways. Our goal is to understand enhancer reprogramming and malfunction using a plethora of functional genomics methods in several cancer types originating from cells of endodermal lineage.

Epigenome reprogramming during progression of cancer

In this translational project, we are studying the role of defined lineage-specific transcription factors and epigenome reprogramming during prostate cancer progression using hospital biobank cohort. Transcriptional and epigenetic features as well as topological constraints in chromatin will be systematically analyzed using genome-wide functional genomics methods for better understanding of disease progression and evolution.

 

The Enhancer Biology group is part of the Applied Tumor Genomics Program of the Research Programs Unit at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki.

Go here to take a look at our research findings and publications. If interested in joining, please contact. Motivated under-graduate students can always contact for thesis projects. 

Sahu group photo 2021