Asst. Prof. Yitzhak (Tzachi) Reizel
What is epigenetics?
Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes that do not involve alterations in the DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms play a crucial role in cellular differentiation.
Our model system
Out of the various epigenetic mechanisms, we focus on DNA methylation. It is the most stable and heritable epigenetic mark known to be crucial for cellular differentiation. Our tissue of interest will be the liver.
We study the epigenetic basis of cellular differentiation in vivo and employ epigenetic principles to improve cell therapy protocols.
Our main goals are:
- To utilize DNA methylation mechanisms that control in vivo differentiation and apply them to improve hepatocyte’s differentiation for cell therapy. For this, we will employ epigenetic editing tools, synthetic biology, and advanced sequencing technologies.
- To study the molecular mechanisms by which cells adapt to environmental stimuli and their effect on disease predisposition. For this, we will use transgenic mouse models, deep sequencing, and special in vivo procedures.
- To study the mechanisms by which DNA methylation patterns are established in the liver and other tissues in vivo. The underlying mechanism of DNA methylation dynamics will shed light on cellular differentiation and cancer progression. We generated a new transgenic mouse model that will enable us to identify new components required to activate changes in DNA methylation during differentiation.