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Cambridge Reproduction SRI

 

My current work is focused on two research areas:

1. Understanding the role of epigenetic mechanisms in the so-called “nutritional programming” of adult diseases, a phenomenon by which suboptimal diet during critical periods of development (such as pregnancy and early postnatal life) is associated with an increased risk of metabolic diseases (e.g. type 2 diabetes and obesity) in later life. I’m particularly interested in uncovering the role of altered interactions between gene promoters and distal enhancer regulatory elements in this phenomenon, using genome-scale approaches.

2. I’m also studying the molecular mechanisms by which imprinted genes (a small set of genes that are expressed only from one of the two alleles, in a parental-specific manner) regulate critical aspects during in utero development, such as fetal-placental communication of nutritional needs and the expansion of the placental vasculature. My interest currently lies on Igf2 (insulin-like growth factor 2) gene. For this purpose, I’m using novel in vivo conditional deletions in the mouse, combined with in vitro assays.

I am a member of Dr. Miguel Constancia’s group and currently funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC-MDU).

Expertise: Developmental Biology, Epigenetics, Genetics