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June 2nd, Seminar - Chunxiao Song

Chemical biology in DNA epigenetics:

from functional studies to cancer detection


Dr. Chunxiao Song
Stanford University


Our genome is not a static combination of four nucleobases, it contains epigenetic modifications such as 5-methylcytosine (5mC) and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) that play crucial roles throughout biology from development to pathogenesis. In this talk I will first highlight several selective chemical labeling-based sequencing technologies that I developed to dissect the functional roles of DNA modifications. In the second part of the talk I will present a single-molecule epigenetic imaging technology capable of detecting 5hmC and 5mC simultaneously from trace amounts of DNA. With this approach we discovered wide-spread hemi-5hmC/hemi-5mC CpG sites in our genome, a previously undetectable and unappreciated structure which may play an important role in gene regulation. Finally, I will describe my recent effort in sequencing 5hmC from the circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) for the first time as a noninvasive diagnostic tool. We discovered unique and distinct features of the cell-free 5hmC from healthy subjects and cancer patients, demonstrating 5hmC as a valuable biomarker in the blood.

Chunxiao Song received his B.S. in Chemistry from Peking University in 2008, conducting undergraduate research with Professor Zhangjie Shi. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from The University of Chicago in 2013 under the guidance of Professor Chuan He. Chunxiao is currently is postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford University with Professor Stephen Quake. His research aims to develop and apply novel tools to probe epigenetic modifications, thereby understanding their functions in human health and disease. In June 2016, Chunxiao will join the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at University of Oxford as a group leader, where he will focus on technology development, functional studies and clinical applications in epigenetics.
Time: 13:30, June 2 (Thur)
Venue: New Biology Building 143
Host: Dr. Jianbin Wang



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