报告时间: 2018年7月17日 上午9:00
Epigenetics studies heritable changes in gene expression (phenotype) that are not induced by alteration in gene sequences (genotype), but rather caused by DNA methylation, non-coding RNAs, histone modification, chromatin remodeling, etc. Epigenetic factors regulate gene transcription and strongly impact cellular processes; and their malfunctions can induce development of pathological conditions. Thus, epigenetic markers are valuable therapeutic targets and indispensable in disease prevention and intervention. To improve our understanding of epigenetics and identify more epigenetic markers of substantial clinical values, our group has developed a series of techniques to speed up functional study of two important categories of epigenetic factors: histone modification and non-coding RNAs. We have revealed the effectiveness of a group of synthetic receptors in recognition of various histone modifications, and employed them to design sensor arrays for function assessment of histone writers and erasers. Moreover, we have invented a differential isolation method to help with understanding of the transportation and secretion of circulating microRNAs. Applying this technique to analyze numerous human samples, we found that the exosomal miRNAs was the most effective fraction in differentiating patients from healthy controls. Therefore our recent focus on discovery of circulating biomarkers has been shifted towards exosomes. We envision our work could lead to future development of point-of-care devices useful in disease monitoring; and could help discover new therapeutic reagents for disease cure. Our work has also demonstrated the great power of chemistry in moving forward biomedical research and development.
Dr. Wenwan Zhong completed her PhD in Analytical Chemistry at Iowa State University and postdoctoral studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She is a Professor of Chemistry at University of California, Riverside; and serve as the Director of the Environmental Toxicology Program of UCR. The goal of her research is to advance understanding of the functions biomolecules and help develop effective therapeutic solutions to protect human health. Currently, she is leading her team to work on two main areas: 1) Discovery of effective biomarkers and development of new techniques and devices for rapid, on-site detection of target molecules; and 2) Study of nano-bio interface to guide sustainable design and applications of biofunctional nanomaterials. Her group employs diverse analytical techniques, including flow cytometry, flow-field flow fractionation, capillary electrophoresis, microfluidics, optical spectroscopy, and mass spectrometry; and also takes advantage of chemical tools like synthetic receptors, functional nucleic acids, and nanomaterials, to improve sensitivity and selectivity in target recognition.