Light-Induced Chromosomal InteracKon: A New Tool to Study Chromosome Dynamics and Its Biological Roles

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project will develop a novel method to use light to control and manipulate the 3D conformation of chromosomes. Containing the genetic materials of an organism, chromosomes play essential roles in many cellular processes. To perform these functions, chromosomes often need to interact physically. Although many interactions between chromosomes have been found, how fast such interactions can be established is not clear. The project will provide a method to probe such dynamics and understand how these dynamics are regulated. This project will engage undergraduate and graduate students in interdisciplinary research bridging genetics, imaging, and computational biology. The principle investigator is developing an interdisciplinary biophysics course, and some of the results from this project will be incorporated into two new teaching modules in that course. This project will also allow the principle investigator to continue promoting women and minority students from multiple disciplines to pursue science.

The project will engineer baker's yeast cells in order to recruit light-induced dimerization proteins to targeted chromosome loci and then use light to induce physical interactions between the two loci. The lab will collect quantitative measurements of the time it takes the two chromosomal loci to encounter one another and to dissociate when dimerization is reversed. Next, they will examine how the phases of the cell cycle, cell size, and DNA damage affect the encounter time. The project will also probe how such induced interactions affect genome-wide chromosome conformation.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date8/15/207/31/23


  • National Science Foundation: $480,000.00


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