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Chromatin Architecture and Chromosome Organization

  • Whistler Conference Center (map)

Understanding the principles governing genome regulation is one of the major challenges now facing biomedical research in the 21st century. Deciphering structure-activity relationships of the genome and its partners in the context of the cell nucleus is a necessary step for understanding the basis of development and disease, as well as for the elaboration of strategies against particular forms of cancers and genetic disorders. The genome is not a linear molecule of DNA randomly distributed in the nucleus, but exists as a three-dimensional (3D) object, intricately folded and packaged, structured around nuclear bodies and landmarks, acted upon by countless force-generating nano-machines and remodeling factors. With the recent advances that have been made in microscopy, biochemistry and modeling, the time is ripe to fully address the study of the genome in 3D space and time and consider it as a complex, dynamic biological system. Up until recently, many of the scientists involved in chromatin biology and epigenetics would attend meetings dedicated to this topic and would not necessarily interface with scientists using advanced imaging or physical and mathematical modeling approaches. This meeting will bring together some of the world’s leading experts and emerging talents at the interface of these topics to explore chromosome architecture and its dynamic relationship with genome function. Specifically, it will explore: 1) Chromatin structure and how this relates to gene expression and genome functions such as DNA replication and repair; 2) Chromosome conformation and the new insights into genome organization that have emerged using new technologies; 3) The nature of the chromatin partners (proteins, RNAs) that underlie chromatin folding and functions and their dynamic relationships in different contexts (cell cycle, development, environmentally induced changes, etc.); 4) Emerging imaging technologies and microscopy and the answers they are bringing to the dynamics of chromatin and chromosome architecture; and 5) New physical and mathematical modeling approaches to further our understanding of the principles governing chromatin architecture.