Penn Medicine Researchers Receive Two Major NIH Grants for Studies of Genome Folding in Health and Disease

Posted On: December 16, 2020

Written by Melissa Moody, Senior Scientific Writer, Penn Medicine Communications

PHILADELPHIA – Popular accounts of the human genome often depict it as a long string of DNA base pairs, but in reality the genome is separated into chromosomes that are tightly twisted and coiled into complex three-dimensional structures. These structures create a myriad of connections between sites on the genome that would be distant from one another if stretched out end-to-end. These “long range interactions” are not incidental — they regulate the activity of our genes during development and can cause disease when disrupted.

Now two teams of researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, each led by Jennifer E. Phillips-Cremins, Ph.D., an associate professor of Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine and Bioengineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania, have been awarded grants totaling $9 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as part of a major NIH Common Fund initiative to understand such 3D-genomic interactions.

The initiative, known as the 4D Nucleome Program, broadly aims to map higher-order genome structures across space and time, as well as to understand how the twists and loops of the DNA sequence govern genome function and cellular phenotype in health and disease.

Read the full article from Penn Medicine News here.