Assistant Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering

Dr. de Boer’s lab aims to understand how the genome is regulated using high-throughput experimental approaches and machine learning. Our genome sequence is identical in every cell of your body, and yet the cells perform many different functions. Their diverse functions come from the genes each cell expresses, which is encoded in the sequence of the DNA. Regulatory DNA is interpreted by proteins termed “transcription factors” that recognize specific DNA sequences and alter the regulatory environment where they bind. This regulation can be further modified by genomic context, chromatin state, and the expression of nearby regulatory RNAs. The creation of genomic “big data” will allow us to decipher this complex problem. One important application of our work is in understanding susceptibility to common complex inherited diseases, like autoimmunity and heart disease. Here, many of the mutations thought to contribute to disease lie in the regulatory regions of the genome. By creating high-throughput measurements of regulatory activity, and applying machine learning approaches, we hope to make sense of how the genome is regulated so we can better understand gene regulation in health and disease. 

For more information about Dr. de Boer’s research, please visit Google Scholar.