Precise regulation of gene activity is controlled by the cis-regulatory elements of the genome, including enhancers and promoters. Enhancers form specific interactions with the promoters of their target genes to transfer activating signals. Since these elements can be separated by large genomic distances, the specificity of enhancer-promoter interactions is dependent on the three-dimensional (3D) organization of the genome in the nucleus. However, it is not well understood how specific 3D genome structures are formed and how cis-regulatory elements function within this context to control gene expression. Our lab has developed a range of genomic tools that have allowed us to gain new insights into these processes. In my talk, I will present these tools and discuss recent findings from our lab about the establishment of 3D genome architecture during development, the molecular mechanisms underlying the formation of these structures, and their role in the regulation of gene expression.
Marieke Oudelaar’s research focuses on the relationship between the 3D organisation of the genome in the nucleus and the regulation of gene expression. Her group aims to determine the 3D structures into which the genome is organised at high resolution, to characterise the mechanisms that drive the formation of these structures, and to characterise how gene expression is regulated in this 3D environment. Marieke obtained her BSc from the University of Utrecht (Netherlands) and her MSc form the Karolinska Institute (Sweden). She did her PhD in the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM) at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom) in the laboratories of Douglas Higgs and Jim Hughes. After her PhD, she received a Junior Research Fellowship from University College to continue her research in the WIMM in Oxford. In 2020, she moved to Germany, to start the group “Genome organization and regulation” at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences.