Li-Chun Tu

Assistant Professor
Faculty
My lab investigates the organization and function of the nucleus with a particular focus on the spatiotemporal correlations between chromatin dynamics and cellular processes as well as genome stability using novel CRISPR-based live imaging techniques and biochemical assays. Chromosomes in the nucleus are highly organized and occupy distinct regions known as chromosome territories. The arrangement of individual chromosomes is essential to many cellular processes, such as transcription, DNA replication and repair. The chromosome reorganization in response to cellular differentiation signals or environmental cues is essential for proper organism development and survival. Understanding the real-time dynamics of gene reposition and chromosome territory relocation in the cell nucleus is the key to fully comprehend the intricate nucleus function and its robust regulation.
 
Our primary research interests are to carry out interdisciplinary research to understand the origin and underlying physical principle of genome dynamics in the cell nucleus and its application for the treatment of genetic diseases. How does the spatial and temporal organization of the genome affect cellular function? What are the mechanisms that trigger genome relocation to alter expression profiles in response to DNA damage? And how can we use this knowledge to correct the genetic/epigenetic alterations in diseases such as cancer? To answer these questions, we employ interdisciplinary approaches combining quantitative live-cell imaging techniques, theoretical modelling, biophysical techniques, and biochemical methods.
Areas of Expertise
  • Biological Chemistry & Pharmacology
Education
  • PhD – Texas A&M Health Science Center
  • Post Doctoral - University of Massachusetts Medical School