Cohen Lab

Big Ideas Night

Following the smashing success of our first big ideas night, big ideas coated our benches just as Barak’s wool sweater once did. Ideas so big that we contemplated moving into a building with even higher ceilings. But alas, we shan’t desert our loyal coffee maker, so we stay put.

The second gathering of Big Idea’s Night took place at Retreat Gastropub. Amidst some fries and whiskey, we pitched ideas for how we can utilize our Center’s newest sequencing technologies. PacBio’s ultra-long sequencing reads and the 10x single-cell method both provide new avenues for innovative research. And to not exclude our friends in imaging, we discussed a new application of FISH, called clampFISH. This technology generates a FISH signal strong enough to be detected by FACS.

The idea most discussed utilizes ultra-long reads to query chromatin interactions. In our lab, we have identified strong regional effects on gene expression. How far do these regions stretch? With our landing pad in place, we can integrate reporter genes at variable distances and ask how the length relates to the coordinated expression between the reporter gene at the LP and at distance. If we see discordance at a certain distance, it may be possible to restore the similar expression with looping-related proteins, such as CTCF or YY1. As team landing pad ventures further into the mechanisms of this strong regional effect, we will draw from these discussions and this big idea.