Center for Genome Imaging (CGI)
The goal of the CGI is to develop, implement, and disseminate imaging, analysis, and modeling technologies that will elucidate how genomes, in their entirety, are organized and function in three dimensions (3D).
Develop strategies to massively scale imaging methods.
Develop strategies for distinguishing maternal and paternal homologs as well as visualizing repeated sequences.
Produce computational pipelines to increase the power and speed of image analysis and genome 3D modeling.
Support the community through a CGI incubator, internships, and courses.
Jumana AlHaj Abed
I want to understand the relationship between homologous chromosome shapes, epigenetic marks, and transcriptional programs in extreme scenarios using homolog-specific super-resolution imaging and chromatin conformation capture technologies. In Drosophila, homologous pairing events are genome-wide, abundant, and extensive and, in mammals, they are rare and stochastic. What are the common or different principles governing functional trans-homologous contact events in different contexts and organisms?
Imaging the structural organization of the whole human genome is an adventure. Being able to visualize with nanometer resolution this information-rich origami masterpiece is daunting, especially if you take it one molecule localization at a time. I’m thankful for being in the midst of what I would call an expedition team, which is joining forces of biological conceptualization, photo-physical finesse, and computational analytics. Let’s climb this mountain!
David Castillo obtained his MSc in Photonics from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona (Spain) where he worked in Super-resolution microscopy. He has a background in Physics and Engineering. He works as a bioinformatics technician in the Structural Genomics team of Marc A. Martí-Renom at CNAG-CRG (Barcelona), developing tools for the analysis, modelling and visualization of HiC data. He is also interested in the integration of microscopy to the modeling of genomic 3D structures.
We developed a genome-wide highly multiplexed imaging technique called OligoFISSEQ, which should enable researchers to image up to a thousand or more genomic regions, simultaneously, in single cells at conventional resolution. Currently, I am applying OligoFISSEQ to OligoSTORM in order to accelerate our capcity to image genomic regions at super-resolution.
Audrey Dalgarno in PhD candidate in the Neretti lab at Brown University in the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry program. Her research focuses on the role of genomic architecture in cellular senescence. For her project, she will combine spatial multi-omic microscopy with machine learning to determine the ability of local chromatin structure to predict transcriptional status at senescence-associated loci.
Over the years, as a computational structural biologist, I have leveraged the integration of experimental data (mainly obtained using imaging techniques) and computational methods to learn more about the mechanisms by which chromatin is organized within nuclei. My goal is to develop and apply transformative tools for the genome-wide analysis and modelling of super-resolution genome images. This will significantly facilitate the investigation of spatial genome organization at an unprecedented scale and resolution.
I am the CEGS manager and am thus working CEGS-wide as well as genome-wide to promote strategies for studying the genome as a whole and at any resolution. In addition to coordinating activities across the center as well as managing the infrastructure of microscopes and data storage, I generate Oligopaint probes for a variety of applications.
Coming from a background in centromere biology, chromosome segregation, and genome instability, I am interested in visualizing the genome-wide structural arrangement of chromosomes in order to understand how structure impacts genome integrity. To this end, I am utilizing OligoFISSEQ and developing new imaging methods in cells as well as in tissues and organisms.
Jeremy Horrell is a PhD candidate in the Neretti laboratory as part of the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry Graduate Program at Brown University. His research interests center around interrogating the hierarchical nature of chromosome architecture of normal and aging human genomes through the combined use of Oligopaints, diffraction-limited, and super-resolution microscopy.
S. Dean Lee
I am interested in the structural interplay between the maternal and paternal genomes in diploid organisms. To that end, I am developing a genome-wide imaging technology to identify the maternal and paternal chromosomes at conventional as well as super resolution. Integrating images representing both resolutions, I seek to elucidate the potential implications of intracellular variability in chromatin packaging between the maternal and paternal chromosomes.
I apply the technologies of Oligopaints and OligoSTORM to the development of experimental pipelines for tackling biological questions at the level of the chromosome. This goal has led me to develop tools such as MART (Multiple-Alignment Repeat-Targeting) probes. The focus of my work has been on complex genomic regions, such as centromeres, on which the inheritance of entire genomes rests.
My goal is to see entire genomes in single cells. As such, I am developing technologies, such as OligoFISSEQ, for mapping genomes at various length and size scales in a highly multiplexed and affordable manner. The resulting maps of genome organization should allow us to identify underlying mechanisms that contribute to healthy states as well as diseased ones.
Azucena Rocha is a PhD candidate in the Molecular and Cellular Biology program at Brown University. Her research focuses on investigating the association of cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) with repetitive elements in the nucleus, with a particular interest in cellular senescence and aging.
Ultraconserved elements (UCEs) are a set of DNA sequences that are identical across distantly related genomes. Scattered across the entire genome and unique, UCEs have been conserved for over 300 million years. However, the role of UCEs in the genome is still unclear. My work focuses on understanding ultraconservation and its function in the genome via imaging and CRISPR-based editing.