Epigenomics is the genome-wide study of epigenetic elements and it deals with "genomics maps of stable, yet reprogrammable nuclear changes that control gene expression and influence our health". Epigenetics describes the study of heritable changes in gene functionthat occur without a change in the nuclear DNA sequence. In addition to RNA-associated silencing and histone modification, a major epigenetic mechanism in eukaryotes is DNA methylation. Methylation of DNA occurs on cytosine residues, especially on CpG dinucleotides enriched in small regions of DNA. These regions, with a GC content greater than 55%, are known as CpG islands. They are usually clustered around the regulatory region of genes and can affect the transcriptional regulation of these genes. Methylation of CpG islands by DNA methylases throughout genome has been shown to be associated with gene inactivation and plays an important role in the development of cancer. Reversal of DNA methylation at these sites is a potential therapeutic strategy as this reversal may restore expression of transcriptionally silenced genes.
This Workshop will include feature presentations given by internationally recognized experts in genomics and epigenomics, i.e., Mining the Cancer Methylome, by Dr. Peter W. Laird who will discuss the application of Illumina’s HumanMethylation27 Beadchips and HumanMethylation 450k Beadchip as well as whole genome shotgun bisulfite sequencing techniques to determine the entire methylome at single-base pair resolution of a primary colorectal adenocarcinoma and matching histologically normal mucosa; DNA Methylation Patterns in Siblings with and without Asthma, by Dr. Ivana V. Yang who will talk about the application of the Roche NimbleGen Comprehensive High-throughput Arrays for Relative Methylation (CHARM) profiling to determine the epigenetic mechanisms and etiology of asthma; Beyond the MAQC-A Regulatory Science View by FDA, by Dr. Weida Tong who will discuss how MAQC and other related projects at FDA address key challenges and opportunities in regulatory science using the examples of the projects developed at the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR). In addition, Dr. Charles Wang, Director of the Functional Genomics Core and Dr. Yate-Ching Yuan, Director of the Bioinformatics Core at City of Hope will give a brief core technology update about the functional genomics and bioinformatics at COH, respectively.