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Job Dekker explains DNA organization in New York Times article

  Job Dekker, PhD

Job Dekker, PhD

The groundbreaking technology called chromosome conformation capture, developed by Job Dekker, PhD, is being used to understand how errors in DNA organization inside cells lead to disease and illness, according to a Jan. 10 article in the New York Times.

Dr. Dekker, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology and co-director of the Program in Systems Biology, tells the New York Times how his work to map the 3D shape of the genome and understand the hundreds of “neighborhoods” genes are packed into (or TADs for topologically associated domains, a term he coined) influence the rules of genetic engagement. When genes that should normally be turned off in a cell are turned on because the boundaries between neighborhoods have broken down, disease, such as cancer, can result.

“Genes and regulatory elements are like people,” Dekker said. “They care about and communicate with those in their own domain, and they ignore everything else.”

Dekker is a pioneer in the study of the 3D structure of the genome. He developed the chromosome conformation capture technologies, biochemical techniques for determining how DNA segments interact and are linked to one another, which are the heart of the “3C,” “5C,” “Hi-C” and “Micro-C” tools used by researchers worldwide to map the structure and organization of chromosomes inside cells.

Read the full New York Times story:
A Family’s Shared Defect Sheds Light on the Human Genome

Related stories on UMassMedNow:
STAT: UMMS study of 3D genome may reveal ‘hidden world of folding diseases’
Job Dekker becomes seventh Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at UMass Medical School
Center for 3D Structure and Physics of the Genome established at UMMS