The goal of the UPenn Epigenetics Institute is to advance basic and applied research in chromatin biology and epigenetics, building on current interest both in mechanisms underlying epigenetic regulation, and in unraveling genome-wide chromatin patterns, commonly known as epigenomes.
While genetic approaches to altering cell and tissue function involve direct perturbation of the genome, epigenetic approaches involve the use of small molecules to modulate enzymes and chromatin binding proteins and thus provides a novel approach for developing therapies and diagnostics to improve human health.
The Epigenetics Institute encourages collaborations between basic and clinical research in epigenetics. Common diseases, such as cancer and metabolic syndromes, as well as brain and memory function, are established and disrupted by these pathways.
The Epigenetics Institute offers monthly research meetings, sponsors seminars, organizes annual symposia and retreats, recruits and mentors faculty, galvanizes large group projects leading to new research grant opportunities, establishes technology cores, among other long-term projects. The Epigenetics Institute currently encompasses a Core Group of 21 faculty members, and participation of more than 50 laboratories from the Philadelphia area, including Penn, CHOP, Wistar, Jefferson, Fox Chase, Drexel and Temple.