Optical Nanoscale Imaging: Unraveling the Chromatin Structure-Function Relationship

Friday, February 17, 2017: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Room 206 (Hynes Convention Center)
Higher-order chromatin structure is crucial to gene regulation and is emerging as a key player in maintenance of genomic stability, with ramifications for most biological processes. Alterations in chromatin nanostructure are some of the earliest events in carcinogenesis, as well as in many other disease processes. Molecular genomic processes do not happen in empty space, but in a highly complex, dense, and dynamic nano-environment, which involves a hierarchy of length scales, from tens of nanometers for nucleosomes to hundreds of nanometers for chromosomal territories. Although chemical modifiers of chromatin function have been extensively studied, little is known about physical and structure-driven effects. This session focuses on frontier research into optical nanoscale imaging of chromatin, and how these cutting-edge technologies help unravel the role of chromatin structure in genome regulation and human diseases. The session presents recent developments in imaging of the chromatin structure and genomic processes with nanoscale detail in live cells, while providing quantitative measurements in three dimensions. The panel will discuss the challenges of label-based and label-free nanoscale imaging and outline how this research could open up new frontiers in understanding of the genome and lead to new disease diagnostics and therapies.
Vadim Backman, Northwestern University
Leonid Mirny, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Physical Models of Chromosomal Domains