Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program Round 8 - 2016

Aaron Straight, Biochemistry
Thomas Clandinin, Neurobiology

A cell’s genetic information, DNA, must be both tightly packed into chromosomes in order to fit into the nucleus and yet arranged so as to allow the cell to grow, to divide and to express the correct genes. However, no current technologies allow us to precisely describe how DNA is organized in a single cell’s nucleus. As a result, the fundamental question of how DNA is dynamically packed and unpacked remains unanswered. By analogy with flash photography, this proposal combines next-generation DNA sequencing technologies with a new form of microscopy to take a snapshot of the organization of DNA at the submicron scale in single cells. Success of this project will open many new avenues of research, examining questions as diverse how as DNA is reorganized during stem cell differentiation and how DNA maintains an apparently stable organization in adult neurons across life.